Jul 16, 2012
3DPrintingNews
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Airbus designer unveils plans for 3d printed planes by 2050!

Aerospace giant Airbus have unveiled ambitious plans for 2050, the creation of a 80 metre long 3D printed air plane. 

Concept model of Airbus 3D printed plane

 

Following two years of work on the concept Airbus employee Bastian Schafer has unveiled plans for a 3d printed plane by 2050. The project faces a number of key challenges the first of which lies in the creation of a 3D printer large enough to create the concept aircraft, as to create a plane entirely in 3d would require the development of a 3d printer the size of an aircraft hanger. The largest 3d printer in operation, has only ever printed structures of a  few metres high.

The plans for this new aircraft include the construction of the aircraft body from a transparent material, so passengers feel as though they are flying amongst the clouds. At present this transparent aluminium exists only in the imagination of the designers. A challenge Schafer and his team believe can be overcome through creation the bonding of different materials on multi material 3d printers.

Research into the future industry applications of 3D printing technology is not a new concept for parent company EADS (European Aeronautical Defence and Security company) who opened a £2.6 million Centre for Additive Layer Manufacturing back in 2011 with the University of Exeter.  The centre which focuses on the exploration of 3D printing opportunities has already had considerable success in terms of producing 3D printed internal components for aircraft with Airbus planning on using 3d printed components in its A380s by the end of 2012.

While a 3D printed plane remains some way off, Schafer is currently focusing on internal components with plans to have 3d cabin seats installed by 2013.

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