Take a peek at the fully functional 3D printed plane Airbus just made

Airbus just showed off a fully 3D printed flyable 4 x 4-m sub-scale plane at the Internationale Luft- und Raumfahrtausstellung (ILA ) in Berlin, an event that combines a major trade exhibition for aerospace and defense industries with a public airshow.

(Image Credit: Airbus)
(Image Credit: Airbus)

The small model provides a blue print for an expandable flight test bed for challenging ideas. Airbus is working to develop unconventional approaches, which are tested in early development phases so that they can fail early and adjustments can be made accordingly.

The plane, which has been named Thor, short for “Test of High-tech Objectives in Reality” has no windows, weighs about 46 lbs. and measures in at just 13 ft., making it look more like a consumer drone than an airplane.

According to Phys.org,  Airbus considers the small pilotless propeller aircraft a foreshadowing of technology to come, such as a future that includes 3D printing technology that will save time, fuel and money.

The company aims to use 3D printing to speed up the overall development process of aircraft production, not just create individual parts. The only parts that are not made using additive manufacturing (employing a material called polyamide) in Thor are the electrical system components.

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