5515.001 USN Submarine Propulsor Application: ULTEM 9085 Production Specification and Support

Fused deposition modeling (FDM) used to fabricate propulsor components

Sketches of the five parts included in the technology data package.


Further study of the production of parts fabricated with ULTEM 9085 is needed to support USN submarine propulsor applications. A review of fabricated parts is needed to optimize printing methods to produce high-quality parts. Doing so will allow for a clear definition of acceptable print quality which will ensure the effectiveness of the propulsor systems.


The objective of the project was to create functional COLUMBIA (CLB) Class Submarine Propulsor components that can perform under the intended application and benefit from the advantages of the fused deposition modeling (FDM) additive manufacturing (AM) method. Another goal was to develop an appropriate technical data package (TDP) for each of the components.

Technical Approach

The technical approach for this project included the production specification development for CLB class submarine propulsor components, the executable file development for CLB class submarine propulsor components, and technical support for the 3D printing of submarine propulsor components. Part material specification and part-specific build strategies were developed for all five components and assemblies. A quality control plan and design value testing plan were developed along with 3D drawings with AM callouts completed. Design processing of each propulsor component was required to create an executable file that would produce a part of acceptable quality and performance. In response to the quality control plan established, witness coupons and inspection samples were incorporated into the build to enable production validation and sampling over time. Using these methods, a full TDP was developed and delivered for each component. This effort aligns with the Navy/USMC AM Roadmap Capability for Mission-Tailored Systems.


The design and fabrication of five CLB Class Submarine Propulsor components were successfully completed and resulted in the generation of a technology data package for each required component. The TDP included not only the modified design drawings and preprocessing requirements associated with ULTEM fabrication by the FDM method but also contained all files generated for each part throughout the project period of performance. Pre-processing of design files in AM slicing software supplying optimal fabrication was provided. Design and fabrication validation samples were provided in each individual build file and were used as testable samples to verify the expected material performance from each build.

Inspection and functionality testing conducted under this project scope was focused heavily on part quality. The propulsor component inspection was performed after fabrication to validate that no unacceptable part quality defects are detected in the models. The inspection followed the procedure outlined in the NCAMP Process Specification NPS89085 and documentation of inherent AM anomalies that are considered aesthetic and acceptable was recorded. An extensive log of acceptable anomalies is recorded in the final report for the project.

Project Participants

Project Principal

Other Project Participants

  • Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD)

Public Participants

  • U.S. Department of Defense

Success Story

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