Feeds

World first: UK boffins print out working 3D aeroplane

Tech for difficult, shapely beauties like the Spitfire or LOHAN

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

A team from the University of Southampton has produced the world's first fully "printed" airworthy plane – a 1.5-metre-wingspan UAV created in just five days by selective laser sintering (SLS).

According to New Scientist, the £5000 Southampton University Laser Sintered Aircraft (Sulsa) was an attempt to see just how fast you could get a vehicle from the drawing board into the air. The boffins, led by Andy Keane and Jim Scanlan, took their design to 3T RPD in Berkshire, which put its sintering machines to work constructing a layer-by-layer nylon representation of the supplied CAD data.

3T RPD explains: "3D CAD data of a new product or prototype component is sliced into layers, and the powder is sintered (melted) layer by layer. Additional powder is deposited on top of each solidified layer and again sintered. When the part is complete the build chamber is allowed to cool and the component removed."

As the above video explains, the advantage of SLS is that it can be used to mould complex shapes which have previously proved hard to manufacture. Southampton Uni's Sulsa pays homage both to the Wellington bomber's geodetic structure and Spitfire's elegant elliptical wing.

The Southampton team says SLS offers the possibility of putting together an aircraft in a matter of days, and quickly producing custom variants as required.

Naturally, you'll be asking yourselves if this impressive technology could be put to work on our own LOHAN Vulture 2 aircraft, and the answer is we certainly hope so. We've already put out feelers to Southampton University and 3T RPD to see how viable it is for a high-altitude rocketplane, so watch this space... ®

Bootnote

Thanks to the various readers who flagged this one up.

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
LOHAN Kickstarter push breaks TWELVE THOUSAND POUNDS
That's right, folks, you've stumped up OVER 9,000 beer tokens - and counting
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?