Design of 3D-Printed Rotating Components for an Aerodynamic Test Rig

Dresser-Rand Team: Lauren Stanley, Mackenzie Dreese, Sarah Thalheimer, Gracie Hackenberg

2017-2018: In collaboration with Dresser-Rand, a Siemens business, this student team designed a 3D printed impeller for use in an aerodynamic test rig for a centrifugal gas compressor. Given the complex impeller geometry, additive manufacturing offers potential savings in cost and time over traditional machining.

After researching 3D printing techniques and materials, the team selected two options to pursue: selective laser sintering using Nylon 6, and powder bed fusion using a powdered steel alloy. The team generated multiple designs for the impeller, ranging from a fully printed part to a combination of machined/printed components. The team then reviewed attachment methods for metals and plastics, performed finite element analyses (FEA) to document impeller forces, assessed test prints and support geometry, and conducted weld tests. Based on their analyses, the team recommended two potential design options: printing the full impeller in Nylon 6 and printing the impeller in two metal sections that are later welded together.

Final deliverables include part files for both designs, FEA and weld test results, and an economic analysis documenting the potential future savings for Dresser-Rand.