3D printing: The world's first printed plane

Engineers at the University of Southampton have developed an unmanned air vehicle (UAV) whose entire structure has been printed, potentially changing the economics of aircraft design.

All of the parts in the plane, including the moving parts, were made on a 3D printer.

During the process a computer reads a 3-D description file to create layer upon layer of the material until the final product is completed.

The parts were are also all designed to 'snap fit' together which eliminated the need to use any fasteners on the plane.

The new technology has the potential to revolutionize the economics of air craft design as traditional methods require months to develop while the SULSA project took only weeks.