Imagine 3D printing a car, the wall of a building, an aircraft wing, or some similarly complicated structure all in one step—not just the metal, concrete, or carbon-fiber shell, either, but with everything like power conduits, plumbing, fuel lines, rubber seals, and moving parts intact.
Sound like science fiction? Thanks to a revolution in the making, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho–based Continuous Composites believes it’s just around the corner.
The company has worked with carbon fiber, Kevlar, fiberglass, fiber optics, and continuous copper wire, and its secret sauce is the ability to print multiple materials concurrently to produce a ready part, all the composite pieces in situ as it emerges from the 3D-printing device. Continuous Composites calls this process continuous scaled manufacturing—a step beyond traditional additive manufacturing.
As you might guess (and as the company’s website suggests), the applications for this technology are nearly endless, and Continuous Composites CEO Jeff Beebout says that he and Chief Technology Officer Ken Tyler are ready to take on all of them. “We’re past the prototyping and proof-of-concept stage,” Beebout says. “It’s now ready to be developed for market.”
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