London: A team of engineers has revolutionized airline manufacture by creating a plane with the revolutionary technology known as 3D printing.
The aircraft was built using only a computer - but it can get up to a speed of 100mph and has a two-metre wingspan, reports the Daily Mail.
It was produced using a special nylon laser printer that builds up an item layer-by-layer.
The parts were made separately and attached using a ``snap fit`` technique so the aircraft could be put together without tools in minutes.
Unmanned and electrically powered, the plane can cruise in near silence and is also equipped with a miniature autopilot system.
This technology allows a highly-tailored aircraft to be developed from concept to first flight in days, whereas using conventional materials and techniques would take months.
And because no tooling is required for manufacture, radical changes to the shape and scale of the aircraft can be made with no extra cost.
Professor Jim Scanlon, who led the team with Professor Andy Keane, said: “The process allows the design team to revisit historical techniques and ideas that would have been prohibitively expensive using conventional manufacturing.”
The new printed plane is known as the Southampton University Laser Sintered Aircraft - or SULSA for short - and is part of a wider project using cutting-edge manufacturing techniques.