Case Study: German RepRap x400 prints a prototype camera mount for an Airbus Helicopter

Airbus Helicopter’s Deutschland GmbH wanted to outfit their helicopters with observation cameras allowing for possible future applications for the police or army to aid in following movements on the ground. Historically, this process would require a part to be cut from aluminum and a “trial and error” period that would increase both cost and overall time required.  However, using the x400 3D Printer from German RepRap, several prototypes were printed for testing which cut both cost and manufacturing time.  These prototypes were created quickly and inexpensively allowing their interaction with other components on the helicopters to be tested easily.  The installation trial carried out with the prototype allowed for any necessary adaptions to be carried out simply and directly on site.  This fast and cost-efficient installation trial enables the “first time right” series component to be retrofitted to the cockpit of the helicopter frame.

3D printing

Cut part
(external production)

Manufacturing time

approx. 6 hours

approx. 2-3 days
(including delivery time)

Manufacturing costs

approx. $55

approx. $135



As the figures below shows, utilizing FDM technology offers both cost and manufacturing benefits when compared to the conventional production method. It allows individual parts to be manufactured with improved functionality – something that would be impossible without significant delays added to production time and cost.

Florian Bautz, CEO of German RepRap GmbH, perfectly describes the benefits of utilizing 3D printing technology- “The application at Airbus Helicopters Deutschland GmbH very clearly shows the benefits of manufacturing prototypes with our German RepRap 3D printer. Besides the obligatory time and cost savings, the internal prototype manufacturing using the FDM procedure also offers greater freedom in the design process.”


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