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777X tool sets record for 3-D-printed objects

Image: Judge measures tool
Guinness World Records’ judge, Michael Empric, measures the trim tool (Credit: ORNL)

A trim-and-drill tool that will be tested during construction of the Boeing Co.’s next-generation 777X jet has already produced something notable: recognition from Guinness World Records as the world’s largest solid 3-D-printed object.

The trim tool, developed at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, was made in only 30 hours using carbon fiber and ABS thermoplastic composite materials. It’s 17.5 feet long, 5.5 feet wide and 1.5 feet tall, and weighs about 1,650 pounds.

After Oak Ridge completes verification testing, the tool will get its tryout at a Boeing production facility in St. Louis, Mo. It’ll be used to secure the jet’s composite wing for drilling and machining before assembly.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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