3D Printed Electric Motor Wants To Take Flight

3D Printed Electric Motor Wants To Take Flight

Airplanes and spacecraft have a big problem. The more engine or fuel you have, the more engine and fuel you need. That’s why aircraft use techniques to have lightweight structural members and do everything they can to minimize weight. A lighter craft can go further and carry more payload or supercargo. Electric motors are very attractive for aircraft, but they suffer from having less efficiency per kilogram than competing technologies. H3X thinks they can change that with their HPDM-250 integrated motor and inverter.

Although the 15 kg motor is still in testing, the claimed specifications are impressive: a peak power of 250 kW for 30 seconds and continuous torque of 95 Nm and 200 kW sustained. The company claims 96.7% efficiency. The claims are for the motor running at 20,000 RPM, so you’d need to add the weight of a gearbox for practical applications, but the company says this adds a mere 3 kg to the overall weight.

The patent-pending innovation behind this motor is a 3D printed copper stator coil that improves current handling. The company claims these coils are 40% better than conventional coils. There’s also a 3D printed cooling jacket that contributes to the motor’s performance.

How real is it? We don’t know, but none of the claims seem farfetched or crazy. The company promises real performance data in the second quarter of 2021, so that will probably tell the whole story. Meanwhile, it is interesting the dream up what you could do with a motor that light and powerful.

While somewhat rare, there are larger electric planes out there. Of course, most hobbyist drones are electric, but there have also been some electric ultralights.