Aerospace AMCase StudiesDrones/UAV

Flying with AM and a Gravity Jet Suit

A collaborative partnership with 3T helped produce complex, efficient geometries whilst reducing weight

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The Gravity Jet Suit has been all over the news recently. While the mass media only fund about it now, those who follow the AM industry know that Gravity has been working on the Jet Suit for some time and that it’s had a functional prototype flying for almost four years. But how exactly did AM make the Gravity Jet Suit work?

Launched in March 2017, Gravity’s dream was to reimagine human flight with an elegant partnership between mind, body and machine, exploiting leading edge technology. This vision led to the creation of the Gravity Jet Suit. The 3D printed part needed to make the Jet Suit fly was an aluminium turbine housing arm assembly.

This section of the kit positions the turbines on the body and transfers the thrust to the body of the pilot. Gravity turned to UK-based AM service provider 3T. The AM journey started with polymer parts as the teams worked closely to build the aluminium arm mount. A lightweight low-profile mount was required with a structurally sound geometry.

Working closely on the original design with the internal 3T CAD team, the result has evolved from using standard manufactured parts with material removed, to a concentrated focus on a low mass product.

Weight is always an issue to be considered. It’s critical to create a system whilst constantly considering the weight, aerodynamics and how that affects flight agility and capability. AM is the process where all challenges can be resolved early on in the design process.

Benefits have included introducing lightweight complex additions to the Jet Suit with a low part count featuring a consolidation of the parts and easier assembly. This has also enabled 3T and Gravity to build a more efficient geometry and to concentrate material only in the areas where it was most needed. Essentially, it means that the Gravity Jet Suit can fly farther and faster.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites and, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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