Tag Archives: Airbus

Top 10 Countdown: Most Popular 3D Printing Stories in September 2012

Cross Necklace 3D Printing Celebrities

Here are the top 10 most popular stories On 3D Printing brought you in September 2012.

10. Interview: Protos Eyewear Combines Fashion, Tech, and 3D Printing

9. The Variable Cross: Create Your Own 3D Printed Cross Pendant Necklace

8. Unique 3D Printed Art Featured at the 3D Print Show in London

7. 3D Printing Mobile Labs: A New Combat Strategy for the U.S. Military

6. 3D Printing iPhones in America: Disrupting Foxconn’s Assembly Line

5. 3D Printing Will Be As Disruptive As the PC, Thanks to Piracy

4. Could 3D Printing Save the Public Library System? Mixed Opinions

3. 3D Printing on the Horizon: Can You Spot the Trend?

2. Interview: Idle Print Looks to Monetize Spare Cycles in 3D Printing

1. 3D Printing a Futuristic Airplane Cabin: Innovation at Airbus


Thanks for reading in September!


Top 3D Printing Headlines Last Week: Katy Perry, Madonna, Airplanes, Military

Cross Necklace 3D Printing Celebrities

A roundup of the top news On 3D Printing brought you from September 3 to September 9.

Monday, September 3

Tuesday, September 4
Wednesday, September 5

3D Printing a Futuristic Airplane Cabin: Innovation at Airbus

3D Printing Airplane Cabin

Could you 3D print an airplane? Some engineers at Airbus seem to think so, at least by 2050 and with a really big 3D printer.

Bastian Schaefer, a cabin engineer with Airbus, has been working for the last two years on a concept cabin that envisions what the future of flight would look like from the passenger’s perspective. From that came a radical concept: build the aircraft itself from the ground up with a 3D printer that’s very large in deed, ie. as big as an aircraft hangar. That probably sounds like a long shot, since the biggest 3D printers today are about the size of a dining table. But the Airbus design comes with a roadmap, from 3D-printing small components now, through to the plane as a whole around 2050.

Why use 3D printing at all? Airbus parent EADS has been looking into using the process, known as additive layer manufacturing, for making aircraft for some time because it’s potentially cheaper, and can result in components that are 65% ligher than with traditional manufacturing methods. Airbus’ concept plane is also so dizzyingly complicated that it requires radical manufacturing methods: from the curved fuselage to the bionic structure, to the transparent skin that gives passengers a panoramic view of the sky and clouds around them.

The challenges are many. First, you need a 3D printer big enough to print airplane parts. Second, you need to incorporate precise, lightweight materials into the additive manufacturing construction. And third, this novel design needs to pass stringent regulation in the aviation industry.

Again the engineers are on the case.

EADS has been experimenting with 3D printing and famously printed an “Airbike” last year. Schaefer, who has been with Airbus for six years, started working on the transparent concept cabin project around the same time as the Airbike project in 2010, calling on colleagues from different departments at Airbus. “We have an opportunity to do something different,” he told them.

He and other industrial designers, tech- and trend-scouts started brainstorming and came up with the current, 3D printed concept design. He has around 10 people working on the project with him, including industrial designers and tech scouts, all trying to push the technology forward.

Below is a video showcasing the Airbus concept cabin, which incorporates many of these new design ideas.


Via Forbes.

Airplane cabin photo by WexDub used under Creative Commons license.