More 3D Printed Airplanes?

By on May 17th, 2014 in Ideas

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3D Systems announced they’ve shipped a huge number of machines to the aerospace industry. What could this mean? 

Specifically, 3D Systems says: 

Over the past several periods, it has shipped over 100 fab-grade 3D printers, including its leading Stereolithography (SLA®), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS®) and Multi-Jet-Printing (MJP) printers transforming the way aerospace companies mass-produce complex, high-performance engine and conformal parts.

That is an awful lot of 3D printers. To put this in perspective, that total is probably more than almost all 3D print services might have operating on their floor. In other words, this complement of 3D printers can produce a very large numbers of parts on a regular basis. 

It almost sounds like mass production, doesn’t it? 

We suspect this may mean aerospace companies are now beginning to step beyond using 3D printing for mere prototypes, but instead may be gearing up for 3D printing of production parts used in actual airplanes. Some such printing may have already taken place, but not on this scale.

So which companies may be heading towards 3D printed airplane parts? And what innovative designs will become possible? 

Via 3D Systems