Guinness Book Record

[Image above] A 3-D printed trim tool developed by ORNL and Boeing to be used in building Boeing’s 777X passenger jet has received the title of largest solid 3-D printed item by Guinness World Records. Credit: ORNL

Additive manufacturing continues to be huge this year—we’ve seen printing go in new directions and use new materials, even ceramics and glass.

But additive manufacturing isn’t just big in popularity, it’s literally manufacturing big things, too.

Oak Ridge National Lab (Oak Ridge, Tenn.) recently used its Big Additive Manufacturing Machine (BAAM) to shatter the Guinness world record for the largest 3-D-printed solid object.

As its name implies, BAAM is used to print big things, including entire cars, but the latest print job took additive manufacturing to new dimensions—specifically, 17.5 ft long by 5.5 feet wide by 1.5 feet tall.

The record-breaking 3-D print job is a tool that Boeing plans to use to construct wings for production of its upcoming 777X passenger aircraft. The 3-D-printed “trim and drill” tool will help secure composite skin on the jet’s wings for drilling and machining before assembly.

ORNL printed the carbon fiber and ABS thermoplastic composite tool, which weighs 1,650 lbs, in just 30 hours, whereas a traditional tool of this type is custom-made from metal in months time.

“The existing, more expensive metallic tooling option we currently use comes from a supplier and typically takes three months to manufacture using conventional techniques,” Leo Christodoulou, Boeing’s director of structures and materials, says in an ORNL press release. “Additively manufactured tools, such as the 777X wing trim tool, will save energy, time, labor and production cost and are part of our overall strategy to apply 3-D printing technology in key production areas.”

See more about this big innovation in the ORNL video below.

Credit: U.S. Department of Energy; YouTube