Boom Supersonic rolls out XB-1 aircraft with titanium parts 3D printed by VELO3D

CAMPBELL, Calif.—Digital manufacturing innovator VELO3D used its Sapphire 3D metal printer to manufacture 21 flight hardware components for Boom Supersonic’s XB-1 aircraft, VELO3D said in a company release. The aircraft was unveiled at Boom’s hangar in Centennial, Colorado on October 7.

Boom Supersonic and VELO3D announced a partnership in 2019 to manufacture complex flight hardware to build XB-1, and ran a series of qualification trials on VELO3D’s Sapphire system.

VELO3D said the XB-1 marks a turning point in commercial viability for supersonic travel and demonstrates the power of additive manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing, to enable innovation while accelerating product development.

“Aviation hardware is especially difficult to manufacture with 3D metal printing, due to challenging aerodynamic designs that must be balanced with superior durability and high temperature requirements,” said Benny Buller, CEO and founder of VELO3D, in the release. “VELO3D’s technology allows the production of lightweight, complex designs for mission-critical applications in the toughest operating conditions. Our partnership with Boom is truly an advancement for the metal AM industry, and XB-1 supersonic aircraft is a game-changer for the aviation industry.”

The printed titanium parts are primarily for critical engine operations in an extremely high-temperature environment. In addition to being used in engine hardware, the parts are used for the environmental control system and structural components. Characteristics of the geometric designs are reported to include tall, thin walls with high aspect ratios, which are inherently difficult to manufacture with either traditional processes, such as welding and casting, or even most existing 3D-printing technologies.

The XB-1 will be used to demonstrate critical technologies for Overture, Boom’s future commercial airliner. These technologies are said to include advanced carbon-fiber composite construction, computer-optimized high-efficiency aerodynamics, and an efficient supersonic propulsion system.

“We strongly believe that supersonic is the future of flight and we’re appreciative of VELO3D in helping us to realize this goal with XB-1,” said Mike Jagemann, head of XB-1 production at Boom Supersonic, in the release.

The XB-1 is reported to be the world’s first independently developed supersonic jet. It is the end-product of years of development effort, including multiple wind tunnel trials, dozens of structural tests, hundreds of simulation iterations, and tens of thousands of work hours, according to the release.

VELO3D ( develops additive manufacturing technology that integrates software, hardware, and process control innovation. The company’s SupportFree printing process is said to eliminate manufacturing constraints to innovation in aircraft design by enabling high levels of design freedom and quality control.

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