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FDM Helps Bell Helicopter Build Quality Prototypes

Bell Helicopter manufactures the heavy-lift “tilt-rotor” Osprey, the hybrid aircraft that combines features of both airplane and helicopter to accomplish what none of its forbears can do. It can lift off, hover and land vertically, yet it can cruise at high altitudes at jet speeds.

When the aircraft recently underwent an experimental tail-wiring upgrade, technicians at the rapid prototyping lab at Bell Xworx used an FDM system to build tough polycarbonate wiring conduits. Technicians installed the branching conduits in six mating sections inside the Osprey’s twin vertical stabilizers for on-the-ground testing of its wiring.


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Bell Helicopter’s Xworx prototyping lab used FDM to build functional models of communication-wiring conduit for the Osprey.

Bell Helicopter’s Xworx prototyping lab used FDM to build functional models of communication-wiring conduit for the Osprey.

“The efficient process allows us to do more iterations than we could with other processes. That results in better-designed components."

Mike Storp, Bell Helicopter