Hill Air Force Base Airmen Use 3-D Printing for F-35 Parts

Jul 23, 2018, 3:40 PM | Updated: 9:05 pm

OGDEN, Utah —  Airmen at Hill Air Force Base are going high-tech in hopes of keeping America’s most advanced fighter aircraft in the air and hoping to save some money along the way.

To help keep the F-35’s in the air, the 388th Maintenance Group and Enhancement Program has turned to 3-D printing.

Tech Sgt. Scott Mathews, assistant manager of the 388th Maintenance Group’s Air Force Repair and Enhancement program, displays a model F-35A he made in the testing of a 3-D printer. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Todd Cromar)

The printer makes grommets, fasteners, housing boxes and cable splinters for the F-35. And it’s all made out of composite plastics and carbon fiber.

Tech Sgt. Scott Mathews, assistant manager of the 388th Maintenance Groups Air Force Repair and Enhancement program said, “With this printer we’re capable of printing all the way down to a 10 micron layer, which is insanely thin.”

Hill Air Force Base recently acquired the printer with the hope of getting parts faster and driving down costs for replacement parts.

“Especially when you start looking at all of the pieces, parts of getting it from the initial manufacturer, through to the end consumer, the eventual cost of that ends of being exponential,” said Mathews. Possibly thousands of dollars could be saved.

Mathews also said, “When you look at all the different parts you can manufacture, once we get the approval and the go-ahead to actually really start ramping things up, oh it just boggles the mind of the things we could manufacture.”

Every new part will need to be tested, proven and approved to ensure quality and safety before being put to use.

Mathews said its like getting paid to tinker around in the garage, “There’s that sense of pride, knowing that you played at least a minuscule role in getting those airborne and keeping them airborne.”




KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

Debbie Worthen

Family, friends remember Utah Tech freshman as ‘the life of the party’

Family and friends of a Utah Tech University student who fell from a fifth story balcony over the weekend remember the 18-year-old as “the life of the party.”
1 day ago
With only days to go before Christmas retailers are hoping consumers will shop generously. (Photo b...
Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage, KSL TV

Gephardt Busts Inflation: The tricks retailers will use to get us to open up our wallets

Of the thousands of Utahns who shopped for bargains on Black Friday, many likely bought a lot of stuff they really didn't plan to buy. And as KSL's Matt Gephardt explains, that's all by design.
1 day ago
KSL TV's Daniella Rivera (left) and Unified police detective Doug Lambert (right)....
Daniella Rivera and Annie Knox, KSL TV

The gift you shouldn’t give car burglars this holiday season

Holiday shoppers are darting around busy parking lots this time of year. So are thieves. Unified police told the KSL Investigators there's a new number one hot spot for car prowlers, but some simple steps can make sure they don't get the better of you.
1 day ago
(Jordan Education Foundation)...
Dan Rascon

Volunteers desperately needed to take kids in need Christmas shopping

A major Christmas giving event to help students in need in South Jordan is in “need” itself.
1 day ago
Lauren Steinbrecher

Hunter High shooter gets juvenile detention for killing 2 students; case now closed

The teen who shot and killed two Hunter High students and injured a third nearly a year ago was sentenced Monday to serve in juvenile detention until he’s 21.
1 day ago
Home security footage of the suspected driver crashing into a mailbox....
Shara Park

Syracuse residents search for driver who destroyed mailboxes overnight

Syracuse families are looking for answers after someone drove through their yards Monday morning, destroying property and mailboxes.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Hill Air Force Base Airmen Use 3-D Printing for F-35 Parts