SpaceX And NASA Have Way Cooler 3-D Printers Than We Do
Plastic 3-D printers are fine for desktop use, but when you're making rocket engines, metal printing holds up a lot better.By Evan Thomas | May 5, 2016
So, 3-D printing has built up a little niche market, but the plastics that come out of a desktop printer are no good for heavy-duty industrial use.
For commercial flight — or commercial spaceflight — you need something that stands up to more abuse.
So companies are turning to metal instead of plastics. They get the speed and detail of 3-D printing and none of the waste from carving parts out of blocks of solid metal.