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Airbus Unveils 3D Printed Aircraft Thor at Berlin Air Show

Thor

Surrounding the excitement of the Berlin Air Show last week, an innovative 3D printed drone was unveiled with the intriguing name of Thor.

At the International Aerospace Exhibition and Airshow (ILA) 2016, which ran from the 1st till the 4th of June, Airbus were the biggest contributor with three main air crafts on show.

Although Thor was one of the smallest there, the aircraft was no doubt one of the biggest attractions.

Thor looks like a model airplane (technically it’s a drone) and its name is actually short for “Test of High-tech Objectives in Reality”.

This is not the first time that Airbus, an aerospace manufacturer, has used 3D printing. Back in 2014 the company began immersing itself in 3D printing and equipped an airliner with a titanium 3D printed cabin bracket.

Since then they have worked on many more 3D printed developments (like in the field of bionic 3D printing). Their new A350 XWB aircraft is comprised of over one thousand 3D printed parts.

What is so Exciting about Thor?

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The aircraft is both windowless and weighs just 21 kilos as well as being just four meters long but most interestingly, it gives an insight into what is to come from in the future of flying.

Every part of the drone has been 3D printed using polyamide other than the electrical elements of the aircraft.

The benefits of using 3D printing are that it will save time, fuel and money as well as the fact that it does not require any tools and aircraft can be made to be between 30 and 50% lighter.

When it comes to the environment, 3D printing has the huge advantage of not creating any manufacturing waste, but as well as this creating a lighter jet means far less fuel is required causing fewer pollutants too.

Detlev Konigorski, who was in charge of developing Thor for Airbus, said at the International Aerospace Exhibition and Air Show at Berlin’s southern Schoenefeld airport: “This is a test of what’s possible with 3D printing technology. We want to see if we can speed up the development process by using 3D printing not just for individual parts but for an entire system.”

We’re excited to see what comes next. What do you think of think of Thor? Let us know in the comments.