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Flying a 3D Printed Airplane

3D printed parts have been in production aircraft for some years now, but what about printing an Entire Aircraft? That's what researchers Andy Keane and Jim Scanlan from the University of Southampton achieved. 
The 2 metre wingspan unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has both impressive design and performance: 
  • Almost 100Mph (160Kph) flight speed
  • Near silent cruise mode
  • Entirely "snap fit" with custom designed connections between components
  • Ability to construct the plane in minutes with no tools
The aircraft's components were printed on an EOS P730 in Nylon. We're thinking that nylon may have better physical characteristics than more common 3D printer materials for an environment as demanding as flight. 
This amazing prototype shows that very complex items can cycle from design to implementation in short order, cutting months off the process. We're expecting to see similar developments in the auto industry soon. 
Via University of Southampton (Hat tip to Ilan)

Made In Space: Update

Up! 3D Printer Assembly In Detail