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March 3, 2016 AT 6:00 am

A New Boeing Patent Describes Levitating 3D Printing #3DThursday #3DPrinting

Screen shot 2016 02 26 at 10 32 35 am

Boeing has patented technology to 3D print objects while levitating in space, Via Popsci

Watching a 3D printer work can sometimes seem like magic–thin filaments slowly build up on top of a platform, turning into parts and figurines. Now, a patent published by aerospace company Boeing introduces an even more futuristic element: levitation.

With this method, the object prints while floating in midair thanks to magnets or acoustic waves. A “nugget” or base gets printed first out into space, and then a cadre of 3D printers add more and more of the printing material.

But why? Levitation is cool, yes, but it turns out there is also a practical purpose for a floating 3D printed object, at least according to Boeing’s patent. The levitating object can be manipulated and turned more so than an object stuck to a platform can be, and using many printheads at the same time would ostensibly speed up the process.

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