The 3D Printed Glider
A Concept Engineering Project
Engineers come up with creative ideas from all different day to day events. This idea of a glider was no exception. It was born in the Engineering Center’s dining room at the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI).
IAI is a globally recognized leader in the delivery of state-of-the-art systems for the defense and commercial markets. It is a global leader in the design, development, and manufacturing of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems.
In two and a half weeks there would be an open day for the workers’ families and they wanted to show the guests who will be arriving, an innovative aircraft, that looks good but not real due to the confidentiality of real projects.
The sketch request was simple: big, beautiful and dismantlable. They chose the approach of “biomimicry,” an imitation of
nature within the products that man produces. In this case, the wings are not straight but curved upwards and their incision
changes. This form is more aerodynamically efficient similar to that of a Spitfire. Today’s manufacturing methods do not
allow for such wings, but 3D printing makes them possible again.
The main problem that they faced was the limited time frame of two and a half weeks to complete the project and no budget.
The solution was to 3D print the model. This is where the Massivit 1800 printer came in. Although the model could have
been printed as a whole, it was printed in two parts, a body and two wings. The entire model was printed in 1 hour and
38 minutes. Using traditional production methods the creation of this model might have taken up to four days.
The finished model was rested on a small wooden stand and displayed during the Family Day event at IAI. Following this experience IAI now plan to move more engineering prototype productions to large 3D printing on Massivit 1800.