Engineers at the University of Southampton recently flew the world’s first 3-D printed aircraft.
For the unfamiliar, 3D printing is a means to rapidly manufacture something out of metal or plastic. In this case, the plane was built by a “EOS EOSINT P730 nylon laser sintering machine,” one layer at a time.
Here’s what makes this especially interesting — the aeroplane is built in such a way that all the pieces snap together, even complex parts like the flaps and rudder. This means that rapid prototyping is only getting easier, so aeroplane manufacturers could design and test new models of plane much more quickly before manufacturing the full-size craft.
Check out the video to see this thing in action: