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Why Aerospace Companies Use 3D Printing

Aerospace companies were some of the first to adopt 3D printing, and they continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible with additive manufacturing.

With the need to produce lightweight, complex parts, aerospace companies have taken advantage of 3D printing for cost savings and fast production.

AM’s Benefits

Additive manufacturing builds direct from CAD data and can eliminate the need for tooling, jigs, and assembly fixtures.

When compared to complex CNC machining and long lead time investment casting, 3D printing can rapidly deliver and significantly simplify intricate parts through part consolidation, allowing multiple subassemblies to be combined into a single component.

It offers one of the most instrumental solutions for weight reduction and simplifies inventory management – all major benefits for aircraft manufacturers.

3D printing these parts delivered an immediate weight savings benefit. Additionally, the lower part count translated into cost savings on the administrative side including inspection, purchasing, and product support.

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Wide Adoption

From giants like Boeing, Airbus, GE Aviation and NASA, the advancements of 3D printing on a production scale have been verified by the aerospace community before trickling down throughout other industries.

Aerospace trends continue to be a driving force behind wide adoption of 3D-printed production.


Quality Assurance

Having developed some of the most stringent industry performance standards involving material specifications and manufacturing process control documents, we’re ready to validate and certify components that meet your unique requirements.

We offer a dedicated aerospace engineering team, high-performance materials developed for aerospace environments, and AS9100 certified quality systems to ensure safe and strong aerospace parts. Your flight-qualified parts will be delivered on time and to spec every time.

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Technologies & Materials

At Stratasys Direct we offer the largest capacity of 3D printing technologies to serve a variety of application needs.

FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)

FDM builds durable, accurate parts with thermoplastic materials such as ULTEM™ 9085 resin and ULTEM™ 1010 resin, both certified to UL-94V0, FAR 25.853, and FAR 29.853 standards, as well as OSU Radiant Panel Heat Release criteria.

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

SLS uses powdered Nylon 11 and Nylon 12 materials, some of which are certified to FAR 25.853 and 29.853 standards for flame, smoke, and toxicity.

Parts produced by SLS are lightweight, strong, and extremely effective in fulfilling a variety of production applications.

Subsequent change incorporation is also much faster and less expensive given that there are no permanent tooling expenses, or tools to be maintained or modified.


Improve product efficiency and flight performance while simplifying inventory with strong, lightweight components 3D printed on-demand.

Our team of experts have worked for decades alongside aerospace engineers to build flight-ready parts, both on the interior and exteriors of aircrafts.

Ultem™ 9085 resin 3D-Printed Aerospace Air Duct Stratasys Direct

Common Applications


  • Air filter boxes
  • Bezels
  • Brackets
  • Custom cosmetic interior components
  • Display shrouds
  • Environmental control system ducting
  • Fuel tanks
  • Housings and enclosures
  • Oil tanks
  • Clips & clamps
  • Knobs & buttons
  • Windshield defogger duct nozzles
Ultem™ 1010 resin 3D-Printed Aero Wing Composite Core Stratasys Direct


  • Battery compartments
  • Camera mount and gimbal
  • Clips & clamps
  • Component connectors
  • Electrical housings
  • Payload enclosures
  • Shrouds and closeouts
  • FOD covers

Ready to Innovate with 3D Printing for Aerospace?

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Frequently Asked Questions

What 3D CAD file formats do you accept?

Stratasys Direct Manufacturing accepts a wide variety of 3D CAD file formats. You don’t need to convert your CAD data to STL to receive a quote.

Files accepted include STL, STEP, IGES, Pro/E, CATIA, Parasolid, SolidEdge, SolidWorks, Autodesk Inventor, Unigraphics as well as files from other popular 3D CAD programs.

What aerospace quality certifications does Stratasys Direct Manufacturing hold?

Stratasys Direct Manufacturing is ITAR registered and carries both ISO 9001 and AS9100 certifications. Stratasys Direct Manufacturing can provide in-house AS-9102 FAI (First Article Inspection) services.

We are committed to Quality Assurance through delivering the best parts on the market and ensuring complete data security with every project.

Read more about Quality Assurance

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Do you work with countries outside of the United States?

Yes, we work with companies around the world, and we can ship to anywhere across the globe. Additional information and screening may be required at the time the order is placed.

What is the largest part size you can make using production-grade materials?

Our largest SLS machine has a build chamber size of 26.5” x 13.5” x 20” and our largest FDM machine has a build chamber of 36” x 24” x 36”.

Parts that exceed those dimensions can be built in sections and bonded in a variety of ways that insure stability and strength.

In addition, bonded joints can be combined with the design of dovetail, tongue and groove, or sometimes lap joints. The performance of bonded parts is no different than if the component had been created as a single piece.

From one-off prototypes, to low-volume production, we have the experience and engineering know-how to support you

Contact Us

9085, 1010 and ULTEM™ trademarks are used under license from SABIC, its affiliate or subsidiary.