Fresh off it's production of a full motorcycle frame using 3d printing, Airbus has filed a patent for a 3d printing process that could significantly speed up it's production of airplane wings and other components.
Using the process currently known as Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Airbus believes it can add powder based forms of iron, copper, aluminum, lead and other metals onto existing structures and build it's airplane wings in one fluid printing process.
Once the printing process is completed, the component they're building will cool down and will then bend to match the original structure. When the company wants to add new materials to the component they're building, they repeat the process with new metals.
The large scale potential hear involves using different base structures for different components of the airplane which they're trying to build - the airplane's side doors, it's cargo structure or airplane wings.
This announcement comes on the heels of a major partnership between Alcoa and Airbus that will see Alcoa provide 3d printed titanium parts for the European company's aircraft.