Saturday, July 30, 2011

3D-printed plane takes to the skies, sounds like a Black & Decker (video)

You know what's pleasing about this plastic drone, aside from the fact it flies? It took just a week to design and build from scratch, thanks to the labor-saving wonders of 3D printing. Each component was formed in ultra-thin layers by a laser beam trained on a bed of raw material -- either plastic, steel or titanium powder depending on the required part. If designers at the University of Southampton wanted to experiment with elliptical wings, they simply printed them out. If they thought a particular brand of WWII nose cone might reduce drag, they pressed Ctrl-P. And if they reckoned they could invent a wingless flying steamroller... Er, too late. Anyway, as the video after the break reveals, there's never been a better time for the work-shy to become aeronautical engineers. 

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