3D Scanning SevicesAerospaceCase Studies

Beechcraft 99 Cargo Plane Engine Cowl Modified with 3D Scanning

Stay up to date with everything that is happening in the wonderful world of AM via our LinkedIn community.
A regional cargo carrier operates with Beechcraft model 99s. They needed a solution for repairing cracks in the engine cowl. This case study explains how Aeroscan, a reverse engineering company specializing in aviation, got involved and used 3D scanning to reverse engineer and fabricate a perfectly fit doubler for a repair.
When it comes to repairs, the real challenge is constructing the steps to arrive at a solution. This was the situation that presented itself to the maintenance team at Bemidji Aviation Services Inc. (BASI). The team decided they needed a repair solution for cracking engine cowls on Beech 99s. The solution—fabricating a doubler that could be installed to strengthen the cracking area.
Yet because of the difficult shape and challenging nature of trying to measure a cylindrical shape like a cowl, how would they possibly fabricate anything that would fit accurately? If 3D scanning technology was a viable option, would it provide the level of accuracy necessary for fabricating a perfectly fitting part and not exceed the budget assigned to the project?
Immediately upon inspecting the existing conditions, Aeroscan determined that this was an excellent application for 3D scanning. Aeroscan explained that as an object’s measurable surface becomes more complex, the benefits from 3D scanning directly coincide. The project began with scanning the cowl on the ramp. Within 1 hour a full scan of the entire affected cowl was captured. The typical reverse engineering workflow of importing the 3D scan reference used in modeling the new piece in CAD could begin. After another 4 hours Aeroscan had a working CAD model.
This CAD model is what is used for whatever is the best determined fabrication process. In this case, because of its cone shape, an operation termed spin forming was used on 2024-O, 0.032” aluminum. Finally, following a T42 heat treatment, conductivity, and hardness tests were performed to bring the new doubler to specifications.

The new spun doubler fit perfectly and on the first attempt! The time saving benefits are not only made on the front-end when measuring the part but at the back-end when the part fits flawlessly for the mechanic, post fabrication.

In this case, the time to complete this project utilizing 3D scanning is difficult to compare against traditional measuring efforts because those steps were too risky and challenging to even attempt. ROI is often measured in dollars and cents. However, when taking advantage of technology that conquers efforts that were previously deemed too difficult, it’s the value in solving a problem that provided this maintenance team with another level of ROI–simply executing the steps to arrive at a solution.

Research 2021
Ceramic AM Market Opportunities and Trends

This market study from 3dpbm Research provides an in-depth analysis and forecast of the ceramic additive ma...

3D Printing Media Network

3D Printing Media Network is the online trade media portal published by 3dpbm, a leading marketing and market research firm specializing in the AM industry. 3dpbm also publishes the 3D Printing Business Directory, the AM Focus eBook series and the 3dpbm Research AM Market Reports. 3D Printing Media Network was founded with the goal to provide the latest industry news, insights and opinions to a global audience of professionals and decision makers.
Back to top button

We use cookies to give you the best online experience and for ads personalisation. By agreeing you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.

Privacy Settings saved!
Privacy Settings

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Control your personal Cookie Services here.

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

In order to use this website we use the following technically required cookies
  • wordpress_test_cookie
  • wordpress_logged_in_
  • wordpress_sec

Decline all Services
Accept all Services



Join industry leaders and receive the latest insights on what really matters in AM!

This information will never be shared with 3rd parties

I’ve read and accept the privacy policy.*