Laser 3D Printing Enables China to Develop, Produce J-31 Fast, Cheap


Major titanium-alloy structural part of the new version of J-31 made with laser 3D printing technology. Shenyang Daily photo

Major titanium-alloy structural part of the new version of J-31 made with laser 3D printing technology. Shenyang Daily photo

I reported the maiden flight of the new version of J-31 (Gylfalcon) in my post “Maiden Flight of New Improved Version of China’s J-31 Stealth Fighter” on December 24. According to the data provided by its producer, J-31 will be well able to grab a large market share from F-35 as it is much cheaper but comparable with F-35 in functions and performance.

China’s local newspaper Shenyang Daily published a report yesterday why China is able to develop the new version so quickly and make it so cheap as it uses the most advanced 3D printing technology to make the major titanium-alloy part of its structure. The part as shown in the picture on top enables J-31 to carry heavy load.

The technology makes production of J-31 quicker and cheaper compared with the old technology of forging and mechanical processing.

Source: Shenyang Daily “Titanium-alloy structural part made with 3D printing makes major contribution to the success of the maiden flight of the 2.0 version of Gylfalcon” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)

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7 Comments on “Laser 3D Printing Enables China to Develop, Produce J-31 Fast, Cheap”

  1. Appreciate the persistence you put into your website and the comprehensive content you present.

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  2. Tyler Reber says:

    China’s J-20 and J-31 seemed to have gone through rapid changes where other modern jets in development always seemed remain unchanged. To China mockers, it simply meant that they can’t get the design right the first time. While ironically true due to changes being implemented to correct inefficiencies, being able to make those changes must be a result of faster and cheaper manufacturing methods. Rapid changes would be a result of a mature 3D printing program.

    Could the F-35 afford to even mention a design change among all its other problems at any stage of its development let alone implement a change like what was seen on Chinese aircraft? Perhaps i’m ignorant on its early development but Its hard to forsee a scenario where something was designed to perfection in terms of performance on the first attempt, (within the demands of complications involved, of course. Obviously a lift fan wont make performance better in mid flight.)

    After all, All three variants use the same shaped air frame even though two dont need the large barrel body to house the non-existant lift fan. A move which is undoubtably to reduce development costs in sacrafice of ariel performance. Is this an inefficiency that was ignored, or does the large barrel body provide other benefits that out weight the negative impacts of its large body.

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    • Wei says:

      Too bad China can’t 3D print a modern jet engine to power their aircraft. All that China has to do is make copies of the Saturn AL-117S engine and install this powerful engine in their underpowered new designs
      “One of the reasons for China’s interest in the Su-35 is its AL-117S turbofan engine. Russia has repeatedly refused to sell the engine as a stand-alone product, which left the PLAAF with little choice but to acquire the entire aircraft. The Chinese military aviation industry is still struggling with designing and building an engine for its new fifth-generation stealth fighter prototype, the Chengdu J-20.”

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      • tito says:

        still China is waaay ahead sore loser india

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      • Tyler reber says:

        Yeah, I’m sure they are having at least as many problems as Pratt & Whitney are having with the f-135. Too bad Pratt & whitney just can’t 3d print some reliable engines out quick.

        By the way, that qouted segment is posted on a hundred American funded news outlets. One would think the Masters of originality could do more than just copy and paste the same pro American opinion piece.

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      • johnleecan says:

        Too bad Wei can’t understand what experts have been saying that even with just purchasing a modern jet engine, it’s very difficult to reverse engineer these types of engines.

        That’s why the Americans, after WWII, had to have kidnapped German engineers and scientists physically present even with the possession of blueprints stolen from the Germans to develop their military. Arrogant and proud Americans who pride themselves of their superiority can’t even build stolen military technologies with blueprints in their possession.

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