American aerospace company Launcher has acquired a depowdering machine for the postprocessing of large, heavy 3D printed rocket parts.

Solukon’s SFM-AT1000-S can reportedly removal metal powder for applications of up to 1,000 mm height.

According to the company, due to their complex geometric shapes and internal cooling channels or internal structures, depowdering can become complicated and time-consuming. In addition, users are faced with risks including explosion, occupational health, labor costs, powder recovery, cleaning quality and process repeatability. Copper alloy (CuCrZr), the material used Launcher due to its high conductivity and efficient cooling, poses a particular depowdering challenge as copper powder residues tend to clog in cavities and show a sticky behavior. In addition, manual cleaning can be hard for rocket parts with a height up to 1,000 mm weighing several hundred kilograms, Solukon said.  

“For final heat treatment and hot isostatic pressing all parts must be free of any powder, a special challenge for large and heavy parts with hard-to-access internal channels,” said Max Haot, founder and CEO of Launcher.