3D Printed Aircraft
You’d think it would take a lot of high-tech equipment to get a flying machine into the air, but engineers at the University of Southampton have disproved that logic. They have created a capable, flying aircraft almost completely out of 3D custom printed paper, which uses only a small electrical motor to power it. It’s called the SULSA, an abbreviation for Southampton University Laser Sintered Aircraft, because it’s created using a laser sintering machine.
Let’s be clear about it, though. This is no Airbus. Its wing-span measures 6.5 feet, and it is capable of clocking a top speed of around a 100 miles per hour. The motor makes next to no noise, and the entire aircraft assembly has been designed using CAD tools and printed in a manner similar to origami projects. There are no high-tech tools required to put it together. All the pieces snap into each other like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
This project is only the beginning, though. Its success could lead to larger, more commercially viable aircrafts being built around the same principles which would not only make the construction a lot cheaper, but also very environmentally friendly, because there’s hardly any wastage. Perhaps someday we’ll all be sitting in aircrafts that are essentially just printouts. Fascinating, yet scary in equal measure.