Printed Materials for Passive-RF Hardware

Driven by system requirements we work with customers to identify the best material and processes for each design. Typical solutions include Ti Gr 23 with optional silver coating, AlSi10Mg, 6061-RAM2, Scalmalloy, or Cu.

Pushing the Boundaries of Passive RF Hardware Design

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

    Simplify complex RF hardware to reduce part count and eliminate costly assembly, test, and integration steps. Direct metal printing (DMP) helps our customers impact system level performance by reducing assemblies into single monolithic structures.

  • Martijn's antenna 3different views
  • Smaller Part Footprints

    Increasing the capacity for multiple beams within a single satellite is a major industry trend. While reduced weight drives major improvements, volume is also mission critical. Better packaging efficiencies allow more channels for more services within the limited satellite design volume.

  • 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 Topology

    Machined surfaces have sharp peaks and troughs, while 3D printed surfaces are made of spheroids melted together for a smooth surface topology. Testing has demonstrated that additively manufactured RF components can perform as well or better than machined surfaces even with higher Ra values. Additive manufacturing enables the ability to shape a part for more effective signal filtering with an optimized surface topology.

Case Study: Low Profile, Low Mass 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

Benefits of 3D Printing for Passive RF

  • Dedicated Industry Expertise

    3D Systems has in-house aerospace industry experts across all major aspects of aerospace parts manufacturing, from engineering and design to certification and production. Our experts work with you to optimize your efforts in manufacturing aerospace components for commercial, business, military, aviation, and space applications.

  • Guided Implementation and Support

    Based on more than a decade of leading-edge manufacturing within highly regulated environments such as healthcare, aerospace, and high tech, we provide you with unique insights, assist in the certification process, and enable a streamlined pathway to full-scale manufacturing using our innovative technology.

  • A Strong ROI

    Our two AS/EN9100 production facilities allow for parallel paths to application development and on-site customer process development. This streamlines the implementation of additive manufacturing and results in an ROI of up to 60%.

Ready to meet our Application Innovation Group?

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.