Airbus Unveils 3D-Printed Planeadmin
Earlier this month at Berlin’s International Aerospace Exhibition and Air Show aerospace manufacturer Airbus unveiled the first ever fully 3D-Printed airplane. While only 13 feet long and weighing less than 46 pounds, the plane, named Thor (an acronym for “Test of High-text Objectives in Reality”), is really more of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or a “drone.” But Airbus’ developers believe this is a promising sign of what’s to come.
“This is a test of what’s possible with 3D printing technology,” Thor’s lead developer Detlev Konigorski said, according to Gadgets 360. “We want to see if we can speed up the development process by using 3D printing not just for individual parts but for an entire system.” 3-D Printing has revolutionized manufacturing in a wide variety of sectors, and aeronauctics would be no different. The turn around time is greatly decreased and it allows for rapid prototyping.
All of the parts of the plane, with the exception of the electrical elements were printed from polyamide. While Airbus and its US competitor Boeing already use this technology to develop parts for their passenger jets, Airbus has filed a patent for a 3D printing process that would be capable of 3D printing an entirely functional and fully operational aircraft, according to IFLScience.