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Airbus presents 3D-printed mini aircraft (analysed from The Hindu, relevant for Prelims and GS III, Topic: Sci & Tech, 3-D Printing)

In era of ever increasing airplane sizes, Airbus has dwarfed the huge jets all around by introducing the mini-plane Thor, short for ‘Test of High-tech Objectives in Reality’.

Thor is the world’s first 3D-printed aircraft.

It was unveiled at the Berlin air show.

Features of Thor:

1.    Windowless

2.    weighing in at just 21 kilos 

3.    less than four metres long

4.    The 3D printing technology promises to save time, fuel and money. The company wants to see if  3D printing can be used not just for individual parts but for an entire system.

Lighter, faster, cheaper:

1.    Airbus and its U.S. rival Boeing are already using 3D printing, notably to make parts for their huge passenger jets the A350 and B787 Dreamliner.

2.    The printed pieces have the advantage of requiring no tools and that they can be made very quickly.

3.    The metal parts produced can also be 30-50 per cent lighter than in the past, and there is almost zero manufacturing waste.

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