May 21, 2021

3D Printed Engine: Bringing 3D Printing Inside The World’s Largest Jet Engine

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, education, engineering, space

Circa 2020

Learn how a young team of additive manufacturing engineers helped bring 3D printed parts to the design of the GE9X, the world’s largest jet engine.

Stefka Petkova enjoys building things. It’s a passion she’s had since she was a small child when her dad, an electrician who liked to work on cars, kept the door to his workshop open. “I was exposed to that as a very young child and just got a lot of encouragement,” says Petkova, who she spent many afternoons watching him weld and wire automobiles.

Her childhood tinkering led her to study mechanical engineering at the University of North Florida, near America’s Space Coast, where she joined the school’s space club. She traveled with the club to Cocoa Beach to watch the liftoff of Space Shuttle Atlantis in 2011, NASA’s final flight in its Space Shuttle Program. “At the Atlantis launch, we were able to go in the overhaul facility, touch the space tiles protecting the shuttles and talk to the engineers,” she says. “It was an amazing experience.”

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