In addition to announcing its new LaserProFusion polymer additive manufacturing technology, German company EOS also showcased a number of other captivating technologies and AM applications at Formnext 2018 last week. Notably, the company presented a number of 3D printed components Gravity Industries’ Jet Suit. The companies even demonstrated the wearable flying device early in the week.
The Jet Suit demoed at Formnext is the brainchild of Richard Browning, who founded Gravity Industries in 2017 to push his gravity-defying project ahead. The suit, based on a patent-pending technology, aims to “revolutionize human transport.”
Presently, the suit consists of arm pieces equipped with two mini jet engines each and a backpack fitted with an engine and a fuel tank. When worn, it gives the user the ability to fly at a speed of over 70 km/h and allows for a 1,000 bhp performance.
EOS, an expert in industrial 3D printing, has played an important role in the development and iteration of the flying Jet Suit, collaborating with Gravity Industries to optimize parts of the suit by improving performance and cutting back on weight.
Notably, Gravity Industries’ leveraged EOS’ polymer technology to 3D print such parts as cable routings, and housings for electronics and batteries. The UK-based company also utilized EOS’ metal AM technology to print parts for the arm mounts and thrust control.
“Richard and his team are pushing the boundaries of what is possible,” commented Güngör Kara, Chief Digital Officer (CDO) at EOS. “As a pioneer in industrial 3D printing, we share the same spirit of innovating. For the Jet Suit, Gravity needed high quality parts which offer high part stability and reduced weight as well as enabling constant product iterations and optimization. This is exactly where additive manufacturing comes into play. It offers a true value add as it can inspire companies to change the way they design and manufacture. In this decade, pushing the limits is a necessity for true innovation.”
Crucially, additive manufacturing enabled Gravity Industries to see significant cost reductions for the development of its Jet Suit. By switching from titanium to aluminum, it also managed to reduce the weight of the arm mounts by 10%—which makes the Jet Suit easier to wear and operate.
AM also enabled the company to go through quick design iterations and to test various optimization features. One important optimization process consisted of consolidating parts for the Jet Suit; according to Gravity Industries, it was able to redesign eight separate parts into just three parts. This also allowed the Jet Suit developers to reduce the number of connecting bosses, lowering the risk of failure.
“When I started to think about inventing the Jet Suit I was inspired by my time with the Royal Marines where pushing ourselves to the limits was a daily routine,” stated Richard Browning, Founder of Gravity Industries and the Jet Suit’s Chief Test Pilot. “For me, innovation comes from courage and from thinking the unthinkable. We are already pushing the boundaries of what is possible today and are creating the future with every day we innovate. AM is substantially supporting us on this exciting journey.”