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XB-1 commercial supersonic jet is real and 3D printing helped make it so

Demonstrator to roll out in October, jetliner expected in 2030

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The fuselage is built. The wings are tested and installed. The engines are ready. Boom’s supersonic demonstrator, XB-1, is real and it will roll out this October 7th, 2020. For the first time since Concorde, a new commercial supersonic aircraft will be unveiled.

Readers of this website are familiar with Boom as the company made no secret of its intensive partnership with Stratasys on prototyping, tooling, and final parts. Boom Supersonic is utilizing the Stratasys F900 3D Printer with the Aircraft Interiors Solution (AIS) package to create hundreds of 3D printed parts for the XB-1 supersonic aircraft. The AIS package is aimed at helping improve mechanical properties and enables repeatable development of aircraft production parts.

XB-1

For the first time in history, an independently-developed supersonic aircraft will be unveiled to the world. XB-1’s complete assembly marks a turning point for future supersonic travel, by demonstrating the key technologies for safe, efficient, and sustainable supersonic flight.

While Concorde pushed the limits of what was technologically possible in its day, XB-1 was built upon the best twenty-first-century innovation. Advanced aerodynamic design, carbon composite material, and high-efficiency propulsion combine to make XB-1 a more sustainable and economical supersonic aircraft than generations’ past.

3D printed parts don’t just make up the XB-1 but they also enable other parts to be assembled. For example, when titanium panels are installed to the aft fuselage, nearly every fastener hole was made using 3D printed drill blocks.

XB-1
Titanium panels are installed to the aft fuselage. Nearly every fastener hole here has been made using 3D printed drill blocks.

The return of supersonic will forever change how the world looks at travel. As a one-third scale demonstrator for Boom’s airliner, Overture, XB-1 continues to inform the design and development of the world’s next supersonic airliner and is laying the foundation for travel twice as fast.

Up to this point, the world has watched XB-1 develop through the virtual windows of Boom’s hangar via the ‘Meet XB-1’ experience. From bonding events and closeouts, down to the 15,129 individual screws, Boom has broken industry precedent to share the details of this build.

With just a few short months between today and rollout, the curtains will slowly begin to close. The forward and aft fuselage will be joined, engines will be installed, and a flight-ready paint job will be applied, making XB-1 roll out the world’s first glimpse of this completed supersonic aircraft.

This event culminates years of hard work, innovation, and drive by the Boom team. The era-defining day will both shape how the world thinks of travel and celebrate the incredible people, community, and technology that brought us here.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based 3dpbm. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites 3D Printing Media Network and Replicatore, as well as 3D Printing Business Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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