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Airbus designer hopes to see planes roll out of hangar-sized 3D printers by 2050

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3D printing may still be in its infancy, but at least one Airbus designer sees things progressing quite a bit over the next 40 years or so. As Forbes reports, the company's Bastian Schafer has been working on a new concept plane for the last two years with other Airbus designers -- one that would largely be "printed" using a hangar-sized 3D printer. "It would have to be about 80 by 80 meters," he told Forbes, adding that such a thing "could be feasible." According to Schafer, 3D printing could not only lead to some significant cost savings, but also allow for parts that are 65 percent lighter than those made with traditional manufacturing methods. Naturally, the concept plane itself is also a showpiece for a raft of other new technologies, including a transparent wall membrane, a 100 percent recyclable cabin, and "morphing" seats that could harvest body heat from passengers. You can get a peek at what the plane might look like in the video after the break.

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