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>> In one of Boeing biggest experiments ever, it's sending a seven-person capsule into outer space made with 3D printed parts. More than 600 components for Boeing Starliner Space Taxi ranging from proposing brackets to structures for air supply support, will come out of a printer. The process is pretty simple.
First, designs are sent to the printer. Then the raw material is poured in and in a matter of approximately two and a half days, you get this, a finished part made from a plastic known as PEKK, set to be as strong as aluminum but half the weight. Reuters' aerospace correspondent Alwyn Scott.
>> It's lighter. It's cheaper. And it's faster than traditional manufacturing. This material that they're using it's a plastic that's been around for a long time. But they have validated that 3D printed plastic of this type can handle temperatures from 300 degrees Fahrenheit to minus 300 degrees Fahrenheit. So it allows it to operate in a range that a spacecraft would be in.
>> The plastic 3D parts made by Oxford Performance Materials weigh about 60% less than if they were made by traditional methods. And of course, lowering the weight means lowering the overall cost. That's why 3D printing is already being used in other industries, by building non critical airplane parts.
And is predicted to grow to a $26 billion business within a few years, which, will impact the way business is done, here on earth.>> It's a very different kind of factory. So we're seeing not just the evolution of 600 printed parts going on a space trip capsule, we're seeing what that means, in terms of the evolution of the factory.
And how much labor is involved, how many people are there and what the machines can do and how the machines are different.>> The Starliner priced around $4 billion, is expected to blast off in the summer of 2018.