3-D printed rocket engine aims for flight record

June 15, 2015 by Deborah Osae-Oppong, University of California - San Diego
UC San Diego Chapter of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space were able to successfully test the latest version of their 3-D-printed rocket engine. Credit: Erik Jepson/UC San Diego

On a hot, dusty Friday evening in May, a caravan of five cars packed with UC San Diego students rolled onto FAR site in the Mojave Desert—a 10-acre property established by the Friends of Amateur Rocketry, Inc. to safely test and launch rockets. It took three tries, but the UC San Diego chapter of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space were able to successfully test the latest version of their 3-D-printed rocket engine.

Now that the engine is ready, the team will finish building the rocket it will power and take it to the Experimental Sounding Rocket Association's Intercollegiate Engineering Rocket Competition, June 25-27 in Green River, Utah.

"We're going to break the for the longest flight of a 3-D-printed rocket engine," said Darren Charrier, SEDS business manager and first-year engineering student at UC San Diego. "We're aiming for our rocket to fly 10,000 feet in the air. We all watched the first record being set a few weekends ago—the first 3D-printed rocket engine went 60 feet in the air."

The first world record was established by Bagaveev Corp., which subsequently donated $2,600 to the SEDS crowdfunding campaign.

The UC San Diego engine was sponsored by GPI Prototypes, a 3-D printing company in Chicago, which subsequently printed the engine. SEDS is also sponsored by NASA's Marshal Flight Space Center, which helped to finance the fabrication of the . Behind NASA, SEDS UCSD has a whole host of sponsors such as Lockheed Martin, XCOR, the Gordon Center, Gantner Instruments, and many more.

The students had been at FAR first in 2013 to test Tri-D, the team's inaugural research project, and again a few months prior to test UC San Diego's first 3-D-printed , Vulcan-I. The initial test of Vulcan-I (called a hotfire) lasted only 5 seconds.

The students were present at FAR again in May to fire the engine for 15 seconds, which is the amount of time the engine will burn during the launch.

3-D printed rocket engine aims for flight record
A student works on the engine. Credit: Erik Jepson/UC San Diego
"The last stretch of the drive to FAR is the longest," said Charrier. "The drive takes five hours, and even longer for those towing the test stand! The fact that so many students were willing to make the trip this close to finals week really shows how passionate they are."

"We weren't ready to test the engine until 1 p.m. on Saturday," said Charrier. "Once the engine was cleaned and calibrated, we needed an ignition source. The igniter itself is a small amount of solid rocket fuel at the end of a stick, and it catches fire when introduced to an electrical charge. Unfortunately, the first test failed because of operational errors."

Refilling the tanks takes approximately 2.5 hours. The second time the team tried it, the igniter simply didn't work. While searching for the problem, they discovered that the pressures in their system were too high. The third time was the charm for Vulcan-I, and at 6 p.m. Saturday evening, the team successfully fired the engine.

The engine is about 10 inches long and weighs about 10 lbs. It is designed to generate 750 lbs of thrust and is made of a high-grade alloy.

Explore further: NASA begins engine test project for space launch system rocket

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TheGhostofOtto1923
1.6 / 5 (7) Jun 15, 2015
This really does signal a new era in technology. I just started reading 'Seveneves' by Neil Stephenson
http://www.nealst...ves.html

-about a singularity which destroys our moon. The resulting debris will incinerate the earths surface in 2 years. A major effort is launched to establish a self-sustainable colony around the ISS, and to capture and mine asteroids and comets.

But how to exploit these resources without reproducing our vast industrial complex in orbit? The answer seems to be robotics and 3D printing.

Soon enough perhaps we won't need industry to maintain our technology dependence. Robots can secure raw materials and printers can make anything we want.
Eikka
3 / 5 (6) Jun 15, 2015
Is this now a proper full rocket engine - combustion chamber, bell and all - or are they still calling a printed fuel injection nozzle a rocket engine?
gkam
3 / 5 (4) Jun 15, 2015
This feat is most impressive. If you have not been close to a large rocket firing, you have not lived. My first night at Edwards AFB, I felt the room shake, and I ran out, down the fire escape, and out into the desert in my skivvies, . . while the Earth and everything else shook. Then, I realized I was also shaking from the inside out, from great acoustic waves of low frequencies from Rocket Site. They were doing the first all-up test of the F-1 engine which was to take us to the Moon in a few more years. 1,500,000 lbs of raw thrust from each engine.

I watched the glow across the lakebed for a minute, and went back to bed.

How these amateur folk were able to make something hold together under these stresses is a superb demonstration of the technology and their intelligent work.
Eikka
3.7 / 5 (9) Jun 15, 2015
My first night at Edwards AFB (...) They were doing the first all-up test of the F-1 engine


The first such test of the Rocketdyne F-1 was performed in March 1959.

According to this article you wrote, you were at Edwards AFB in October of 1966 and according to your bio, you were an USAF airman 1965 – 1969.

http://www.flyari...roff.htm

You were not there at the time. Please stop making up these little stories of yours.
Eikka
3 / 5 (6) Jun 15, 2015
Test firings of F-1 components had been performed as early as 1957. The first static firing of a full-stage developmental F-1 was performed in March 1959. The first F-1 was delivered to NASA MSFC in October 1963. In December 1964, the F-1 completed flight-rating tests. Testing continued at least through 1965.


gkam, you might have witnessed the last of the test series of the F-1. Certainly not the first.
gkam
1.8 / 5 (5) Jun 15, 2015
It was the first all-up test at Edwards Rocket Site (I meant to say THEIR first all-up test), and was on a Monday morning at the end of May, 1966. See if Wiki has it.
gkam
2 / 5 (4) Jun 15, 2015
"gkam, you might have witnessed the last of the test series of the F-1. Certainly not the first."
----------------------------------------

Probably not the last, either. Isn't the Saturn Five the only rocket system ever to operate without a failure?
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Jun 15, 2015
You were not there at the time. Please stop making up these little stories of yours
Excellent detective work.

George, you cant LIE on a site where most everybody is more intelligent, more educated, and more experienced than you.

The fact that you continue to try, and continue to ignore people when they expose your LIES, means that you are insane.

Youre INSANE george. Have the VA docs told you this yet?

Why dont you ask them?
Eikka
3 / 5 (6) Jun 15, 2015
It was the first all-up test at Edwards Rocket Site (I meant to say THEIR first all-up test), and was on a Monday morning at the end of May, 1966. See if Wiki has it.


Too late to change the story now. If you were an airman from 1965, how come it was your first day in 1966?

Your story just doesn't match up. The F-1 was developed mainly at Edwards.They did numerous full test firings in April 1965 and through the summer to figure out the combustion chamber instability, and the final qualification tests were done on 6 September 1966. I find no mention of May 1966.

This isn't from wiki, this is from NASA.
h20dr
5 / 5 (1) Jun 15, 2015
wondering the same thing... Is this a complete engine or just a nozzle...? Anyway, congrats to the team; making history. Can u imagine printing one at home? Its comming...
Eikka
2.7 / 5 (7) Jun 15, 2015
In fact, I find seven static test firings, FW-026 through FW-032 at the Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama, in May of 1966

Source:
F-l Engine Static Test Tower
HAERNo. AL-129-L
Appendix B
NASA history office

FW-028 was on a Monday, 9 May 1966

So I guess you were in Alabama instead of Edwards then, gkam.
Eikka
3 / 5 (6) Jun 15, 2015
wondering the same thing... Is this a complete engine or just a nozzle...? Anyway, congrats to the team; making history. Can u imagine printing one at home? Its comming...


Appears to be the real deal.

They're using a construction that injects a layer of fuel around the inside of the combustion chamber to keep the heat in the middle from melting it. They're working off of NASA's drawings.
gkam
1.8 / 5 (5) Jun 15, 2015
Just because a wiki warrior can't find it does not mean it did not happen. Just as I said it did.

Where were you at the time?

TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Jun 15, 2015
Just because a wiki warrior can't find it does not mean it did not happen. Just as I said it did
Youre a LIAR George. Eikka proved this to you.

You lied here just as you lie all the time.

You do this because you are deranged.

This is the only reasonable explanation.
Eikka
3 / 5 (6) Jun 16, 2015
Just because a wiki warrior can't find it does not mean it did not happen. Just as I said it did.


If you want to make the claim, then its your task to show that it did.


Where were you at the time?



I didn't exist, but this isn't a question about me in the first place.

Look. It's alright that you make up these grampa stories that grow taller every time they're re-told, because it doesn't matter whether or not you're telling the truth about your own person, but your bad habit is to then turn around and tell people that you know something about space rockets, and tell them exactly what you think you know about them no matter how incorrect it is.

Simply because you stood there in your underpants and watched one go.

Eikka
3.5 / 5 (8) Jun 16, 2015
a wiki warrior


Do you even realize what you're doing there? You're discounting information by its source, because it doesn't match up with your imagination.

If NASA history office doesn't know of a Rocketdyne F-1 test firing at Edwards AFB on a Monday late May in 1966, then NASA is wrong? My gosh, you should phone them up immediately.
gkam
3.3 / 5 (7) Jun 16, 2015
Sorry Eikka, you are the one in error.

Go fiddle with your numbers until you find it.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Jun 16, 2015
This is like trying to convince a woman with munchhausen by proxy that she is harming her child. You can catch them in the act, show them the video of them doing it, and they will continue to deny it because they believe that it's not true.

Curious how fucked up the brain can get.

No matter. You will still be caught and exposed and humiliated George. For the good of the site.
Eikka
2.7 / 5 (7) Jun 17, 2015
Sorry Eikka, you are the one in error.

Go fiddle with your numbers until you find it.


It's your job to prove yourself.

In court it's innocent until proven guilty, but in science and history, it's wrong until proven right, and you haven't provided -any- evidence to back up your claims.

And the dates and locations you provided are still inconsistent with other information you've given.

Eikka
2.7 / 5 (7) Jun 17, 2015
Also, George, elsewhere you said:

In mid-1968, while we were spying on the Commies in Vietnam with our sensors, I openly mused in the shop how long it would be before the government used them against us. I was really surprised to hear general agreement.

http://phys.org/n...ils.html


You weren't in Vietnam. You were posted in Khorat, Thailand, as a mainenance technician 1967-68

http://www.westin...at03.htm

And according to your own words yet elsewhere, you were discharged because they didn't much appreciate you jumping up screaming "we are all nazis".

See, when actually starting to look you up over what you've written across the internet, it becomes quite clear that you're telling one story in one place and quite another elsewhere.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Jun 17, 2015
George,

"Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple pro- gram, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with them- selves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suf- fer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest."

-I'm sure you've see this before.
gkam
3.4 / 5 (5) Jun 17, 2015
Thanks, Eikka for that. Once again, it shows how a little information can highlight a fool.

Yes, we were stationed in Korat, in Nahkon Ratchasima, along with the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, some CIA Air America aircraft used to run dope, and some other special stuff. Like the Eighth Air Force in WW II, in which my Father participated, we commuted to the war. You cannot put an airfield in the middle of a battlefield.

We lost 22 of us non-combatant electronic specialists there, you idiot. I am not going to accept your ignorant bleatings of what you want to think real people do in those situations.

I have read your technical nonsense, pretending to "know" what you look up and re-spout, but cannot put it all together, because you have no experience, just words.

Yeah, I got sick of the killing and said it. You would never have those guts. Never.

And I got promoted after that, Senor Zero. Apparently your ignorance of American Military is complete.
gkam
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 17, 2015
You sideliners looked me up and found out I am real, unlike you who hide behind pseudonyms.

I suggest you respectfully listen to your more seasoned folk, your "betters" in the game of life, and not make the same mistakes we did. We tried and tried to tell you to not get fooled, suckered, by those two draft-dodging cowards screaming "WMD!" at you, but you got taken, didn't you? In fact, you got EXCITED!! Oh boy, you are going to feel powerful!!

You stay-at-home "patriots" will always be scorned by the Real Folk.
Eikka
1 / 5 (3) Jun 18, 2015
You sideliners looked me up and found out I am real, unlike you who hide behind pseudonyms.


No you're not. You're just telling stories.

All my respects to the 22 specialists who died, but you were still just a maintenance tech stationed in an airbase, and that's all we really know about you. For all we really know, you were there just to sweep the floors and change the lightbulbs, and you haven't provided any evidence to the contrary - you just keep rattling on how "we did" this and that.

It's disgusting how you try to steal glory from those who really did the job.
Eikka
1 / 5 (3) Jun 18, 2015
pretending to "know" what you look up and re-spout, but cannot put it all together, because you have no experience


I don't pretend to know anything.

I don't personally need to understand the finer points of some subject to prove your assertions of it false, just as I don't need to know how to raise a cow in order to say when a steak is burned. Someone else has already done the job for me, and it's them you have to take your argument to - not me.

You're just trying to shoot the messenger.

I'm giving you widely available information that contradicts what you claim, and you're saying it's not true because you have "experience". It's got nothing to do with me personally.
Eikka
1 / 5 (3) Jun 18, 2015
I suggest you respectfully listen to your more seasoned folk


That's generally a sound advice, but it comes with a responsibility on the "seasoned" to actually tell the truth, instead of using their authority to pervert fact and mislead the young. You don't even need to make an explicit lie - all you need to do is lie to yourself - to think too highly of yourself, your "expertise", your knowledge; and you're already misleading people who depend on your for guidance.

Do you understand that anecdotal evidence is the weakest form of evidence exactly because of this?

Or to put it in more familiar terms: "An empty barrel makes the most noise"
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Jun 18, 2015
suggest you respectfully listen to your more seasoned folk, your "betters" in the game of life
This is what George kamburoff is all about... A posturing egomaniac who thinks he is better than anyone else, and will lie through his teeth in order to establish the illusion.

This is the only way you can rationalize the loss of a dozen jobs during your career isn't it George? It wasn't YOUR fault but the fault of inferior supervisors who could not recognize your greatness.

But once they got to know you and realized that your 'education and experience' taught you that graphene and graphite were the same thing, that knowing what calories and BTUs and kWh are is not really important to a bonafide genius like yourself, they rightfully got rid of you.

You're a sick old man George and you continue to demonstrate this with every post you make here.
gkam
2 / 5 (4) Jun 18, 2015

"For all we really know, you were there just to sweep the floors and change the lightbulbs, and you haven't provided any evidence to the contrary - you just keep rattling on how "we did" this and that."
---------------------------------------------

Yes, "For all you know", is it exactly. Being completely ignorant of our work and how the military works, you assume what your ignorance tells you.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (6) Jun 18, 2015
And you were a 20yo tech who thinks he was designing, installing, and operating a spy network directly for macnamara.

This is how deranged you are.

'Your work' consisted of plugging things in and pushing buttons.
gkam
2 / 5 (4) Jun 18, 2015
The more our sideliners talk about the military the more they expose their personal ignorance of it. If they had the guts to enlist, then they could have had the experiences which make up a seasoned individual, and not just some wanna-be pining.
gkam
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 18, 2015
The topic here is the rocket engine made with additive manufacturing. It is most impressive, since rockets operate in conditions of extremes, from temperature to physical stress.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1.7 / 5 (6) Jun 20, 2015
The more our sideliners talk about the military the more they expose their personal ignorance... had the guts to enlist, then they could have had the experiences which make up a seasoned bullshitter
So being stuck in a bunker taking potshots at the enemy gives one special insight into the workings of the military? Sitting behind a desk at a fuel depot gives one special insight into the workings of the military? Lobbing shells from a fire base gives one special insight into the workings of the military?

Being stationed in Thailand as a 20yo noncom tech, plugging stuff in and flipping switches on, gives one special insight into the workings of the military?

According to George these experiences are the only way to know anything about the subject.

You've already demonstrated how full of shit you are. And you continue to disgust people every day with your unbounded ignorance.

You're not smart enough to understand how stupid you are. An all-too-common affliction.

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