Metal Filament A rocket launch with smoke coming out of it, featuring a copper filament for 3D printing.

UNR Aerospace Club

The University of Nevada, Reno Aerospace Club is using FFF Metal by The Virtual Foundry to build a solid rocket motor. Once successful, the club will then evaluate a potential liquid engine with internal channeling to take full advantage of additive metal manufacturing.

Project leads Chris Zinser and Justin Powell outlined their project to make their current rocket more than triple its achievable flight distance.

They’ll be working with Stainless Steel 316L Filamet™ and Inconel® 718 Filamet™ for the project, printing on a Bambu Lab X1-Carbon 3D Printer and debinding & sintering in The Virtual Foundry Sintering Kiln.

Inconel will be used to make a metal casing for the rocket booster with a liner to absorb the heat. The Club chose this material because of its ability to withstand high pressures at reduced weight.

The final parts will be relatively large – 15-18″ (380-457mm) tall and about 1.5″ (38mm) diameter. Since FFF Metal really shines with smaller parts, the Club will likely break their engine down into multiple pieces and thread them together post-sinter.

For Phase I though, parts will be sub-scale like the 3DBenchy. This phase is focused on material science and data science – how the material reacts, how it shrinks, etc. They will narrow that down to eventually produce precision parts.

The result of Phase I will be an FFF Metal process that delivers consistent results.

Next spring, they’ll start applying the parts.

The rocket itself is 6′ (1.8m) long and has, so far, flown to 30,000 feet (9144m). The Club needs to create higher pressure in the rocket’s chamber so it can fly higher to 100,000 feet (30km).

We look forward to supporting the UNR Aerospace Club in their efforts!

Metal Filament The logo for the UNR Aeronautics Club showcases the cutting-edge technology of desktop metal and fffmetal, highlighting their expertise in metal 3D printing.

University of Nevada, Reno Aerospace Club

Preparing UNR Students for careers in Aerospace Industry through Collegiate Projects, Research, Networking, and more!

The Club is just starting in its 3rd year. It boasts 20-40 active members per semester, all university students – mostly undergrad. Overall, the club has over 250 members.

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