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Camera Head Unit Brackets (CHU)

Aviation and aerospace TruPrint Aluminum Additive manufacturing

Satellite star trackers are made up of a combination of two optical cameras. The camera unit is protected by a CHU bracket, which is conventionally made of aluminum blocks. Additive manufacturing means that the design and quality of the component can be selected freely. Compared to conventional production, this means that the weight, volume, and costs can be reduced. The printed part is also more rigid. By changing the material, it was possible to optimize the mechanical properties of the material on site, eliminating the need for electrochemical polishing and heat treatment. The Institute of Space Systems at the University of Stuttgart developed the CHU as part of the Flying Laptop satellite, which was developed and launched into space in 2014. It is used to accurately calculate the position and orientation of satellites in space.

Additively manufactured component

Additively manufactured component on substrate plate

Conventional design

Increased rigidity
Weight reduction
Stress reduction

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Facts & figures about the example part

Material: AlSi10Mg (conventionally Al 7075)

Weight: 150 g (conventionally 216 g)

Dimensions: 112 mm x 160 mm x 128 mm (additive manufacturing design)

Volume: 57 cm³ (conventionally 77 cm³)

Construction duration: three components/substrate plate: 18 h (TruPrint 3000), 7.6 h (TruPrint 5000)

Stress: 125 MPa (conventionally 241 MPa)

Number of layers: 2155, each 60 µm (additive manufacturing design)

Build rate: 9626 cm³/hr

Created by: German Aerospace Center (DLR) and TRUMPF

Additive manufacturing enables the production of complex, load-dependent structures, such as bionic designs. The holding fixture of the camera head unit (CHU) has gone through the entire additive manufacturing process chain from the outset, which included a topological optimization to establish the full potential of additive manufacturing.

Volkan Düğmeci
TRUMPF Laser and System Technology

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TruPrint 5000
TruPrint 5000

The highly productive, semi-automated 3D printing system TruPrint 5000 prepares you for industrial batch production –  with features such as optional 500 °C preheating and the full-field multilaser equipment with three 500 watt TRUMPF lasers.  Thanks to the preform option, the TruPrint 5000 supports hybrid component production. For this purpose, the component structures to be additively manufactured are applied to a blank.

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