International Journal on Advanced Science, Engineering and Information Technology, Vol. 6 (2016) No. 5, pages: 734-739, DOI:10.18517/ijaseit.6.5.963

Advanced Manufacturing of an Aircraft Component (Fish-Head): A Technology Review on the Fabrication

M. Minhat, S. B. Mohamed, M. S. Kasim, M. A. Sulaiman, Zairi Ismael Rizman


The Airbus fish-head is machined using a 5-axis Computerized Numerical Control (CNC) milling machine, which consists of many complex shapes that are built into it. A conventional CNC machining requires tremendous effort in programming and investment due to the increasing in features complexity of the fish-head to be machined. An alternative method through advanced manufacturing processes namely vacuum casting, Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) and three dimensional printing (3DP) is reviewed. The fish-head prototypes are manufactured through the concept of reverse engineering and rapid prototyping. The fish-head master pattern is digitized using a three dimensional laser scanner and edited using a surface modelling software to generate the Standard Triangulation Language (STL), which is common to most rapid prototyping (RP) machines. The fish-head prototypes are fabricated through FDM and 3DP using the STL data files, whereas the master pattern is used to fabricated silicone mould for vacuum casting. The quality of the prototypes is accessed in terms of dimensional accuracy and time to produce a single prototype. The dimensional accuracy is analysed using coordinate measuring machine (CMM). The dimensional accuracy error is found to be less than 5%. However, all prototypes require secondary surface treatment processing in order to achieve the desired surface roughness quality. All three prototypes can be manufactured less than 24 hours per prototype. The advanced manufacturing processes allows parts to be fabricated similar to parts manufactured through CNC but at a lower cost and faster.


advanced manufacturing; vacuum casting; fused deposition machine; 3D printer manufacturing

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