The United States Air Force (USAF) has certified 3D printed latrine cover as the first aircraft part to be used built using additive manufacturing, Travis Air Force Base announced Monday.
"The latrine covers we just printed usually take about a year from the time they've been ordered to the time they've been delivered. We printed two of the covers in 73 hours," said MSgt. John Higgs, 60th Maintenance Squadron aircraft metals technology section chief said.
The 3D printed latrine covers will replace the existing ones on the Lockheed C-5M Super Galaxy large military transport plane. The Project was completed on 12 August.
The 60th Maintenance Squadron is the first field unit in the Air Force to be certified with an industrial-sized Stratasys F900 3D printer that is authorized to produce non-structural aircraft parts, USAF stated.
The Stratasys F900 3D printer is certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Air Force Advanced Technology and Training Center. It is capable of printing plastic parts up to 36-by-24-by-36 inches, using Ultem 9085, a flame-retardant high-performance thermoplastic regarded as more flexible, dense and stronger than typical plastic.
The Air Force has been experimenting with 3D printing since 2015. In January 2019, a 3D printed Titanium cockpit part became the first to be installed on F-22 Raptor fighter plane. It replaced a conventional Aluminum part.