3-D printing is cool, just a little gimmicky. 

But NASA took 3-D printing to a whole new level; they created an injector fabricated from layers of a nickel-chromium alloy powder  and then hot-fired it in a rocket engine.

The injector component is part of the rocket engine that allows the hydrogen fuel and liquid oxygen to pass through to the combustion chamber, where the thrust is produced, notes Jason Paur at Wired. The engine tested with the 3-D printed injector developed 20,000 pounds of thrust, about 10 times more than any previous engine that’s used a printed part.

Using selective laser melting, layers of the nickel-chromium alloy were printed by Directed Manufacturing Inc. of Texas. The injector was designed by NASA and the resulting data from the test will be available to other U.S. companies.

NASA Fires Up Rocket Engine Made of 3-D Printed Parts By Jason Paur, Wired

Credit: NASA. Link: Wired.