MIT Rocket Team successfully fired a rocket motor 3D printed from plastic!
Using Markforged Onyx Nylon a 2 piece, completely 3D printed rocket motor was fired for the first time by MIT Rocket Team on April 21.
Printing rocket motors from plastic is a unique accomplishment.
Several groups, including SpaceX and NASA, print rocket engines from metal. But metal printers are expensive, costing north of six figures.
Our plastic motor is produced on an innovative, lower-cost plastic printer, which has a price accessible to hobbyists and small teams. We also designed our case to work with modern composite propellants.
The first test worked well. We used a less energetic propellant (easier on the motor case, less heat and lower pressure) to start with. The rocket motor achieved supersonic flow and produced thrust. The case survived the test in decent shape. A few millimeters of plastic eroded from the throat.