Airbus Planning To 3D Print Plane’s Vital Components

By: | August 31st, 2013

The recent TED Global Conference held in Edinburgh, Scotland was, as per usual, an interesting affair but one of the most eye catching displays was the unveiling of a daring new plane to be designed by Airbus, something which is being referred to as the “future plane” by attendees at the conference.

What’s so innovative about it? Airbus intends to 3D print many of the plane’s vital components for its lace-like structure that could ultimately cut down drastically on the fuel required. The plans also include bendable wings.

Furthermore, Airbus introduced designs for “morphing seats”, which would monitor the passenger’s weight and shape and adjust the seat’s position to make for the most comfort. Meanwhile, the lattice design of the plane’s body would allow for panoramic views.

Bastian Schaefer is an engineer at Airbus who spoke with the BBC about the manufacturer’s bold new designs. “Flying in the future must remain affordable for both people and from an environmental perspective,” he said on the need for aviation to further evolve. However, fuel efficiency and new sources of fuel remain a focal point of their on-going design he added – “We are running out of oil and we have to find other solutions. Some of this can be done via technology, but we are also looking for alternative fuels.”

The company is currently looking at biofuels in the long term for fuelling their aircraft.

One look at the designs and images certainly piques interest in Airbus’ future plans. But are they perhaps too ambitious or are they merely a plan for what could be possible down the line in changing the modern aircraft?

Jonathan Keane

Irish journalist writing on business, tech and engineering.


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