Skunk Works’ Polecat printable robotic plane

Via engaget blog comes this cool bit of technology:

It’s not often we’re sitting on a sophisticated 3D printer and four tons of material, but Lockheed Martin apparently wanted to see if they could “print” out a new plane from their Skunk Works facility in California. The result is the Polecat, a 91-foot wide, four-ton unmanned flying wing with the major claim to fame being that most of its internal structures were rapid prototyped on said 3D printers. Our broke selves still have to stick with printing out our airplanes in paper (though our folding techniques have significantly advanced since the Cold War), but it’s strange to think of a future where aircraft (and landcraft, and seacraft) aren’t built by people and machines, but instead are squirted out of tanks of polymer and sent on their merry little ways.

More details at new Scientist Tech.

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