Since a few years Airbus has been developing and using additive manufacturing. Now, Airbus has developed an airplane that consists of a 3D printed structure and has already successfully completed test flights.
Thor (Testing High-Tech Objectives in Reality) is a “flying test object” produced by Airbus. It has a length of 4 meters and a wingspan of 4 meters. It’s so special because it uses only 3D printed parts for its structure (no reinforcement with other materials). Only the electric system, battery and landing wheels are not 3D printed. The whole airplane uses only around 50 3D printed parts and can be built in less than 4 weeks.
You can print this kind of aircraft in four weeks. It has low lead times for fast track developments.
The whole airplane has a weight of 25 kilograms and had its first flight back in November 2015. At that time it flew from Hamburg to Stade (Germany). That’s a distance of 40 kilometres and is very promising for an airplane that’s electrically operated and has a weight of only 25 kilograms.
Perhaps Airbus has already plans for 3D printing other unmanned aircraft vehicle or even manned ultralight aviation. Definitely the research and development team of Airbus is working with 3D printing technologies. If you want your own 3D printed airplane, our article about a 3D printed RC-airplane may be interesting for you.
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