Airbus develops a functional 3D printed UAV and its called Thor
The aerospace manufacturing giant Airbus has been involved with 3D printing and manufacturing since 2014. Over the period, Airbus aircrafts have been fitted with various 3D printed parts, but now the company is visualizing a future where 3D printed aircrafts will lift off straight from the runway. Airbus has recently filed a patent application from a 3D printing process to print a fully-functional airplane. While the patent takes time to materialize, Airbus has gone ahead and 3D printed a unmanned aerial vehicle named Thor at their manufacturing plant in Hamburg, Germany.
The 3D printed UAV called Test of High-tech Objectives in Reality [Thor] is developed to perform as a test platform for high-risk investigations and surveillance. The airplane is designed largely to check and verify the viability of 3D printing in aeronautics.
Weighing as light as 25kg, Thor has a wingspan of 4m and a length of 4m as well. It is reportedly made from 50 3D printed parts and comprises an electric motor and a remote control.
A similar 3D printed UAV can be, Airbus representatives inform, built in about four weeks, and its parts can be reprinted and replaced in matter of days.
Developed at an estimated cost of 20,000 euros, Thor UAV was first tested in November last year in a 40km flight from Hamburg to Stade. Airbus is scheduled to carry out 18 test flights of the Thor in this year. Presently, the 3D printed UAV is on show at the ILA Berlin Air Show till the fourth of this month.