I've seen a lot of crazy 3D printing concepts at trade shows over the past five years, nothing fazes me anymore but today at TCT Asia 2018, I saw something that actually did blow my socks off. 

DediBot, a company based in Hangzhou, China, has an array of 3D technologies from desktop FDM machines to SLM-style metal 3D machines (one of which is capable of printing in two metal materials), they look like decent quality, fairly priced machinery. Nothing to write home about there, but that's not why I'm writing this piece and not why truckloads of visitors are crowding around Dedibot's booth. 

They're all clamouring to get a look at what Dedibot call The "Fly Elephant", a flying 3D printer, yes that's right a FLYING 3D printer. 

The Fly Elephant is currently only a concept but here at TCT Asia Dedibot is showing exactly how that concept could work. The Fly Elephant is a powerful drone with a Delta-like printer on the bottom, the software for it will be able to precisely plot where the drone lays down the material. 

In this use case, it is a concrete mix, and DediBot says the idea behind the Fly Elephant is to do away with the constraints of traditional printing when it comes to construction. By using a drone or a swarm of drones DediBot claims it will be able to build unlimited structures. 

DediBot call this technology Open-ended Additive Manufacturing (OAM) and had some examples of what the Fly Elephant had created on the booth, they're similar to the concrete prints we've seen previously but the fact the drone is not constrained in the Z-Axis means there is the potential to print gigantic structures. 

It's all in theory at the minute, DediBot is looking to work with some collaborators at the project but the fact they have a working prototype here at TCT Asia is encouraging.

Source:TCT Magazine