There have been some intriguing applications of 3D printing over the years, but none as ambitious as this one from Airbus designer Bastian Schafer, who’s working on an idea that will see planes 3D printed using printers the size of an aircraft hangar by 2050.
Schafer believes the idea is feasible and has been working on the concept for the last few years with a dedicated team. The printer would need to be about 80 metres by 80 metres and, as if a 3D printed plane isn’t a wacky enough concept, the plane would be printed with a transparent skin so you can be at one with the clouds, or, if you’re a vertigo sufferer, experience crippling anxiety.
Passengers chilling in the 3D printed plane
By 3D printing the plane, it’s hoped the cost will be cheaper and the plane lighter (by 65%), but not all the tech is there at the moment, like the transparent aluminum for the body or a giant 3D printer to create it. And as well as the unprecedented way in which the plane will be manufactured, it will also showcase some other novel ideas, like body-heat harvesting seats and a recyclable cabin. It may sound like madness, but you have to admire their vision.