World’s First Printed 3D Plane all set to take off
Today is the age of 3D. While the concept of 3D has been hitting the ears for quite sometime now, its wide scope yet remains to be flourished and talked about. With every new invention, the world comes to know about a new facet of 3D technology. Likewise, 3D printing is the recent topic on the discussion tables of the technological world. There are specialized printers, connected to ordinary PCs, which produce customized products, the creativity of which are often beyond the imagination of an ordinary brain. The result can range from a 3D house to a 3D chocolate.
The 3D printing process involves:
- Fine slices of plastic, steel or titanium to build 3D objects
- Removal of the design restrictions which exist when an object has to be cut or ground by a machine
One day, perhaps while flying high on a plane, Andy Keane and Jim Scanlan dreamt of flying their own 3D plane. What could have been more than a reason to celebrate than witnessing their dream indeed take off with colorful wings? But then, coupled with their passion, technological advancement to a great extent enabled the invention.
Andy Keane and Jim Scanlan of the University of Southampton revolutionized the age with their invention of the world’s first printed 3D plane. Their plane under the authority of SULSA (Southampton University Laser Sintered Aircraft) is an unmanned air vehicle (UAV), the entire structure of which has been printed. This includes its wings, integral control surfaces and access hatches. The model is printed on an EOS EOSINT P730 nylon laser sintering machine, which fabricates plastic or metal objects, building up the item layer by layer. The team is determined about the fact that soon 3D printing technology would back the Drone aircrafts to take a shape in reality.
The entire design-to-flight took a negligible tenure of hardly a week to get completed. Designer Jim Scanlan explained, “The novel aspect of the structure is that it is completely fastener free. In fact, all of the control surfaces have been grown in the laser printing process. So, there are no subsequent assembly operations.” Keane mentioned, “With 3D printing we can go back to pure forms and explore the mathematics of airflow without being forced to put in straight lines to keep costs down.”