Most 3D printers available today are no larger than your average dining table — but Schafer aims first to not only print the smaller components of an aircraft, but by 2050, to print the plane as a whole.
Airbus’ parent company EADS has researched the process Schafer proposes to use, known as additive layer manufacturing, since it may be cheaper and lighter than traditional methods used in aircraft construction. However, due to the complicated processes involved, the concept printer would need a fair amount of room.
“It would have to be about 80 by 80 meters,” Schafer told Forbes. “This could be feasible.”