Aerospace major Boeing has patented a futuristic 3D printing technology that allows objects to be printed mid-air, reports 3D Printing Industry.
The patented technology lets the object "levitate" in space as multiple printers are used to complete the job.
According to the patent information, the technology creates magnetic fields that hold the initial 3D-printed material, called a nugget. The material can be placed anywhere and will let its users rotate the nugget using additional magnetic fields, thus allowing complex features to be added from all sides. This is unlike conventional 3D printers that follow the bottom-up printing technique.
It was also pointed out that the use of multiple heads increases the printing speed.
Levitate the nugget can also be achieved with acoustic waves. "There is a need for an Additive Manufacturing (AM) method and apparatus that eliminates the need for a platform and/or support materials to stabilize the part during the fabrication process, and which removes limitations on the types of features that can be formed, allowing full body 3D printing of complex parts, (sic)" the company explained.
However, Tech Crunch warns that patents rarely reflect the final product process due to the complexity factor.