3D Printers Create Tomorrow’s Rocket Engines

Tri-D Dynamics LLC co-founders Deepak Atyam (left) and Alexander Finch work with components and a diagram of one of their engines. (Purdue Research Foundation photo by Oren Darling)

Startup company Tri-D Dynamics LLC, a startup with ties to Purdue University, plans to use 3D printers as well as other additive manufacturing processes to make future rocket engines that show promise in being faster and less expensive to produce than traditional methods. The 3D printer would create small rocket engines for satellites.

Using traditional production methods, the same engines could take three to four months to produce, rather than days. The plan is for the launch vehicles to employ clusters of the 3D-printed engines positioned on the vehicle to lift the payload. The more engines used, the larger the payload capacity. The goal is to see the rockets launching once or twice a week – a minimum of 10 to 20 engines per week.