The concept plane by Airbus to be made circa 2050 with a 3D printer
Yesterday, Parmy Olson of Forbes.com, a leading source for reliable business news and financial information told how Airbus is exploring building planes with giant 3D printers. You might think this idea is impossible since the biggest 3D printers today are about the size of a dining table, but 3D printing is vastly increasing in popularity due to innovators pushing it in extraordinary ways.
Bastian Schafer, a cabin designer with Airbus, has been working for the last two years on building a concept plane with a 3D printer: ''It would have to be about 80 by 80 meters,'' said Schafer of the yet to be created 3D printer. ''This could be feasible.''
3D printing technology has been around for a while and some of the largest structures have come from Enrico Dini, the man behind British company Monolite UK, who has worked for years with 3D printing. Dini has claimed that his 3D printer, the D-Shape, is the largest in the world.
EADS has been looking into using additive layer manufacturing, for making aircraft because it's potentially cheaper, and can result in components that are reportedly 65% lighter. However, Schafer's concept plane is very complicated in that it requires radical manufacturing methods: from the curved fuselage to the bionic structure, to the transparent walls that gives passengers a panoramic view of the sky and clouds around them.
Schafer and other industrial designers started brainstorming and came up with the current, 3D printed concept design in 2010. He has around 10 people working on the project with him, including industrial designers and tech scouts, all trying to push the technology forward.
“Now we’d like to create even bigger parts in the mid-term up to 2013,” said Schafer. “Printed components of a seat or other structural components inside the cabin, and we have 20 years to scale this up.”
The technology is more than 20 years old, and it could be at least another 20 years before we see what Bastian and others are foreseeing, but in the 3D printing world - isn't anything and everything possible?
For more information you can visit http://www.forbes.com