Design and manufacture radio frequency (RF) passive hardware with efficient, lightweight 3D printed components to guide, filter, modulate, or amplify communications signals from earth to satellite and back

Pushing the Boundaries of RF Passive Hardware Design

  • Airbus Monolithic DMP Part Cutaway
  • Monolithic Design for Reduced Part Count

    Direct metal printing (DMP) has sparked innovation in RF design. Our customers are rethinking entire subsystems and producing them as single monolithic structures.

    To support these customers in their design evolution, our Application Innovation Group offers services to help them maximize the full potentials and values of our latest technologies and advancements.

  • Martijn's antenna 3different views
  • Reduced Footprint of RF Parts

    A major industry trend is to increase the capacity for multiple beams within a single satellite. Typically weight is seen as the major driver of improvements, but volume is of high importance too. The more compact an RF payload is designed, the more channels can be added, enabling more services. Additionally, the launcher typically sets hard limits on the design volume for telecommunication satellites.

  • illustration of sections of the gpl antenna

    D. Gonzalez-Ovejero, N. Chahat, R. Sauleau, G. Chattopadhyay, S. Maci and M. Ettorre, "Additive Manufactured Metal-Only Modulated Metasurface Antennas," IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation, vol. 66, no. 11, pp. 6106-6114, Nov. 2018

  • Smooth Surface Finish

    Machined surfaces have sharp peaks and troughs, while 3D printed surfaces are made of spheroids melted together for a smooth surface finish, improving electrical conductivity.

    Additive manufacturing enables the ability to shape a part for more effective signal filtering with an optimized surface topology.

  • Airbus satellite

    Airbus Deploys Additive Manufacturing for RF Components

    The Airbus Defence and Space manufacturing team in Portsmouth, UK, developed innovative designs for the additive manufacturing (AM) of switch assembly networks with AM consultation and production support from 3D Systems. The radiofrequency (RF) passive hardware is designated for two Eurostar Neo spacecraft that will join the in-orbit fleet of Eutelsat, a major provider of satellite communications services.

  • Airbus' new RF filter

    First Air-Worthy Metal 3D Printed RF Filter Ready for Take-Off

    3D Systems’ facility in Leuven, Belgium, has been using the 3D Systems ProX DMP 320 since the machine was in its beta stages. Successful projects include topological optimization, weight reduction, and parts consolidation for spaceflight-validated parts such as brackets and strut end fittings for telecommunications satellites. The Airbus Defence and Space project was 3D Systems Leuven’s first foray into RF filters.

“This is recognized as the first large-scale deployment of RF products using [direct metal printing], and it puts us in an industry-leading position for the technology’s application in producing radio frequency components.”
Gareth Penlington, HOTBIRD payload manager at Airbus

More Aerospace and Defense Applications

  • What Can You 3D Print With Metals?

    Design, test and produce metal parts with 3D printing that are simply not possible with standard manufacturing. Create lightweight, high-strength structures and deliver new capabilities.

  • 3D Printing Metal Parts and Materials

    Direct Metal Printing (DMP) gives you complete design freedom to manufacture stronger parts that are light, durable and perform better than other means.

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  • Application Innovation Group

    Our team can help you solve your most difficult design and production challenges with additive manufacturing solutions. Together we’ll identify your needs, working with you to optimize your designs, prototype, validate and define a manufacturing flow.