Monash University

A 3D printed rocket engine – made in Melbourne

Monash engineers have designed, printed, and test-fired a rocket engine.

Media call 9.30 am, Monday 11 September, Woodside Innovation Centre, New Horizons Building, 20 Research Way, Monash University, Clayton

HD footage of static rocket testing and metal printers at work
Media contact: Niall Byrne, 0417-131-977,

The new rocket engine is a unique aerospike design which turns the traditional engine shape inside out.

Two years ago, Monash University researchers and their partners were the first in the world to print a jet engine, based on an existing engine design. That work led to Monash spin-out company Amaero winning contracts with major aerospace companies around the world.

Now a team of engineering researchers have jumped into the Space Age. They accepted a challenge from Amaero to design a rocket engine, Amaero printed their design, and the researchers test-fired it, all in just four months. Their joint achievement illustrates the potential of additive manufacturing (or 3D printing) for Australian industry.

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3D printed rocket engine – backgrounder and links

Quick facts

  • A joint Monash University/Amaero team of engineers successfully designed, built, and tested a rocket engine in just four months
  • The engine is a complex multi-chamber aerospike design
  • Additively manufactured with selective laser melting on an EOS M280
  • Built from Hasteloy X; a high strength nickel based superalloy
  • Fuel: compressed natural gas (methane); oxidiser: compressed oxygen
  • Design thrust of 4kN (about 1,000 pounds), enough to hover the equivalent of five people (about 400 kg)

The 3D printed or Additive Manufactured aerospike rocket engine is the result of a collaboration between a group of Monash University engineers and Amaero Engineering, supported by Woodside Energy and Monash University.

Engineers at Amaero approached a team of Monash engineering PhD students, giving them the opportunity to create a new rocket design that could fully utilise the near limitless geometric complexity of 3D printing.

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  Melbourne hosts the world’s largest 3D printer—and it’s open for business

The biggest powder bed 3D printed metal aerospace component is on display at the Melbourne International Airshow at Avalon.

  • Press release below, and background information here.
  • Photos and video here
Barrie Finnin, CEO of Amaero, with a hand on the 3D printed door hinge from a Chinese jet airliner

Barrie Finnin, CEO of Amaero, with a hand on the 3D printed door hinge from a Chinese jet airliner

Monash University has commissioned the world’s largest metal printer, and has used it to print a large door hinge from a Chinese jet airliner. The aluminium hinge weighs 11 kg and is 40 by 80 by 39 cm in size. It is the largest powder bed 3D printed metal aerospace component printed to date.

The $3.5 million Xline 2000R printer acquired by Monash University is one of five made to date by German manufacturer Concept Laser. It’s the only one outside America and Europe, the only one based in a university and the only one in the Southern Hemisphere available for contract manufacturing.

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