The World's First Printed Aircraft

#Technology

Thu, Aug 4th, 2011 12:00 by capnasty NEWS

Using nothing more than an EOS EOSINT P730 nylon printer, engineers at the University of Southampton were able to design, print, assemble and fly an unmaned air vehicle (UAV) that can be put together in minutes and requires no tools.

From the article:

The electric-powered aircraft, with a 2-metres wingspan, has a top speed of nearly 100 miles per hour, but when in cruise mode is almost silent. The aircraft is also equipped with a miniature autopilot developed by Dr Matt Bennett, one of the members of the team.

Laser sintering allows the designer to create shapes and structures that would normally involve costly traditional manufacturing techniques. This technology allows a highly-tailored aircraft to be developed from concept to first flight in days. Using conventional materials and manufacturing techniques, such as composites, this would normally take months. Furthermore, because no tooling is required for manufacture, radical changes to the shape and scale of the aircraft can be made with no extra cost.

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