In the near future, combustion engineers will shape the burner according to the flame, and not the opposite way anymore. In this contribution, this idea is explored with the help of additive manufacturing (AM). The focus is put on the design and the production of swirlers using advanced materials with the least possible efforts in terms of manufacturing. The material chosen for this study is Inconel 718. There are three motivations to this project. The first one is to design new shapes and assess these in comparison to conventional ones. The second motivation is to be able to manufacture them using additive manufacturing, and to gather know-how on selective laser melting. The third motivation is to elaborate a methodology involving engineering, research and education to promote — only if and when this is desirable — the production of series of premium parts such as high-end components of gas turbine combustor using AM. First-of-a-kind swirler shapes are explained and designed. These are unlikely to be produced using conventional manufacturing. They are then successfully produced in Inconel 718 using AM. The raw parts are directly submitted for testing with no surface post-processing. The paper states why at current state-of-the-art the raw surface quality still needs improvement, and highlights the benefits of the new swirler shape versus conventional.

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