Multi-switch waveguide image courtesy of Tesat-Spacecom (above)

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

NEW - Further Reduce Mass in Passive RF Hardware

Learn how NEW Certified Scalmalloy (A), a high-strength, corrosion-resistant aluminum that is 40% lighter than titanium, further reduces mass in your components. Benefit from optional, cost-effective standard service for APWORKS Scalmalloy production certification through 3D Systems AIG team.

A 3D printed radio frequency part made from Certified Scalmalloy A

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.

Metasurface Antennas

In collaboration with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Univ Rennes, CNRS, IETR - UMR 6164, 3D Systems produced several thousand elements of this MTS antenna on a single base plate. Low profile and low mass make this an ideal Ka band antenna type for SmallSats and CubeSats.

Reference: D. González‐Ovejero, O. Yurduseven, G. Chattopadhyay and N. Chahat, “Metasurface Antennas: Flat Antennas for Small Satellites,” in CubeSat Antenna Design , IEEE, 2021, pp.255-313.

  • Semiconductor RF antenna 10mm macro

    Macro view of 10 cm diameter antenna face.

  • Semiconductor RF waveguides base plate

    Integral rectangular waveguides machined into reverse side of base plate

  • Semiconductor RF antenna 10mm macro zoom

    Zoom to central region in 10cm diameter antenna face

  • Semiconductor RF 20x SEM image

    20x SEM image of individual elements

  • The DMP Factory 500 3D printers and modules

    3D Systems & Airbus Defence and Space Create Novel Passive RF Components for First Fully Reconfigurable Satellite

    3D Systems’ AIG designed an end-to-end AM solution – comprising its DMP Factory 500, materials, software, and applications expertise – to deliver fully-qualified processes and components required for the large antenna array.

  • 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.

Our company has a strong partnership with 3D Systems and has relied on its team of application engineers to help us bring our most advanced designs to life. Everything from the quality of the parts produced using their printers, through to parts qualification, quality management, and overall project management have helped Airbus Defence and Space maintain its position as an industry leader.
Stephen Phipps, OneSat antenna program manager, Airbus Defence and Space

More Aerospace and Defense Applications

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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.