World’s first 3D printed plane THOR unveiled by Airbus

The world’s first 3D-printed aircraft THOR was unveiled by European aerospace company, Airbus at the International Aerospace Exhibition held in Schoenefeld, Germany.

The THOR is short for Test of High-tech Objectives in Reality. It resembles a large, white model airplane but is windowless.

Key features of THOR

  • THOR has just 3 parts. It is lighter, faster and cheaper.
  • It is windowless small pilotless propeller aircraft.
  • It weighs 21 kilo grams and less than 4 metres long.

All it parts (except the electrical elements) are 3D printed from a substance called polyamide.

THOR’s inaugural flight was conducted near Hamburg, Germany in November 2015. Aerospace companies like Airbus and Boeing already are using 3D printing technology to make parts for their huge passenger jets A350 and B787 Dreamliner.

About 3D printing technology

  • 3D printing is a process of making 3-D (three dimensional) solid objects from a digital file with extreme precision.
  • This technology is also termed additive manufacturing as the 3D printed object is created us additive processes i.e. by laying down successive layers of manufacturing material on each other until the entire object is created.
  • This technology has limitless possibilities and can create almost anything with just raw material and a computer generated model.