BAAM! Why Emeril Lagasse will love the next BIG thing in 3D printing!

Emeril Lagasse, USAF

Big area additive manufacturing (BAAM) is beginning to become a reality.  Look for 3D printing to expand from little plastic trinkets to large lightweight, but strong structural components.  One of the places this is most evident is in aerospace.  The news has been littered with article about 3D printing a 19 ft x 4 ft x 4 ft “wing box” for an F-14 fighter jet to Airbus creating a BAAM titanium partnership with Airbus predicting it will 3D print an entire jet by 2050!  BAAM has even been covered by outlets like Popular Science who discuss the expected evolution from the 30 non-structural 3D printed components  in the Boeing 787 to complete small UAV’s and eventually to complete large planes.  There have even been proposals to 3D print complete buildings in case a jet wasn’t big enough for you.  So what does it all mean?  Additive manufacturing is a process that can be used big or small, a general tool in an engineers belt whenever appropriate.  You need a plane? BAAM! A pair of snow skis? BAAM!  A fuel tank that makes maximum use of any void space? BAAM!  In a culture where bigger is better, look for big things from big area additive manufacturing.

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