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Printing Bikes

“It’s hard to understand the thinking behind building a bike to show people how aircraft of the future might be made, especially when the bike ends up looking almost retro in a 1970s this-is-what-the-future-will-look-like sort of way.

But regardless of its appearance, the Airbike is an impressive accomplishment, not least because it was “grown” fully assembled. Well, almost. By “grown” its creators at European Aerospace and Defence Group (EADS) in Bristol, UK, really mean printed.

Using a type of 3D printing technique called additive layer manufacturing (ALM), a high power laser is fired from above to melt a powdered material in a container. As the laser marks out a pre-programmed shape in the powder, the melted nylon solidifies making the first layer of the object that is to be printed.”

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