Hypersonic aircraft developer Hermeus has acquired 3D printers from additive manufacturing specialist Velo3D to build parts for its Chimera engine and Mach 5 Quarterhorse. Both printers, including the original Sapphire and large-format Sapphire XC, which is designed for high-volume production, will be calibrated for the superalloy Inconel 718.
“Metal additive manufacturing is a core component of our plan to vertically integrate production,” said Glenn Case, a founder and chief technology officer of Hermeus. “As we explore the capabilities of Velo3D’s additive manufacturing technology, we’ll be looking for ways to increase performance, consolidate components, reduce weight of our aircraft, and minimize external dependencies.”
Velo3D metal printers provide the ability to build complex, mission-critical parts that were previously impossible to manufacture, Velo3D said. The company noted that it has previously been a strategic partner on projects at SpaceX, Honeywell, Honda, Chromalloy, and Lam Research, among others.
Founded in 2018, Hermeus is working toward the development of a hypersonic aircraft for defense and commercial applications. Its first project, the Quarterhorse scaled autonomous aircraft, is expected to complete its first flight in 2023. Hermeus’s Chimera will power Quarterhorse.
“Hypersonics is an extremely challenging subset of the aviation industry and at the speeds that Hermeus will achieve, temperature, vibration, and aerodynamics play major factors in the flight of the aircraft,” said Benny Buller, Velo3D CEO and founder. “There are not many teams with the deep experience in hypersonics, aviation, and space flight that Hermeus has….I have no doubt that they will bring their vision to life and make hypersonic commercial flight a reality.”