Boeing is 3D printing objects while levitating in space

Boeing is 3D printing objects while levitating in space
Boeing has patented technology to 3D print objects while levitating in space. Multiple 3D printers are used to simultaneously print various features. The printing material has diamagnetic properties. When super-cooled becomes a super-conductor.
First, a small quantity of the printing material called nugget is ejected into space. By creating magnetic fields, the nugget is held in space by levitating it. Now, further deposition of printing material can be made from any direction in space.
This technique offers many unique advantages.
  1. Material can be deposited right beneath the nugget. This is not possible in conventional 3D printers, which follow a bottoms-up printing technique.
2. Additional magnetic fields are used to rotate the nugget to any orientation.  This allows fabrication of more complex features
3. Even acoustic levitation can be used to levitate nugget
4. Simultaneous use of multiple print heads increases the speed of printing objects many fold
Boeing plans to 3D print aircraft parts using this technology.
Patent Information
Publication number: US20160031156
Patent Title: Free-Form Spatial 3-D Printing Using Part Levitation
Publication type: Grant
Application number: US 14/446141
Publication date: 4 Feb 2016
Filing date: 29 Jul 2014
Inventors: William A. Harkness; Josh H. Goldschmid;
Original Assignee: The Boeing Company

More in Boeing