The Impact of Rapid Modeling at Full Scale: Cirrus Fuselage

Solutionology Podcast: Episode #18 | 15 min


Don’t miss this conversation with a favorite client and good friend, Mike Van Staagen. Mike is a renowned designer of aircraft, mobility solutions, products of all sorts, and a manufacturing engineer with an award-winning 30-year career. He currently serves as the VP of Advanced Design and Development for Cirrus Aircraft while also operating his own design firm. Mike’s many accolades include helping to envision, design and lead teams for the best-selling Cirrus SR20/22 aircraft. He was also the creator and driving force behind the Cirrus SF50 Vision personal jet.

In this episode, Mike explains the daunting challenge he brought to DI Labs during the design phase of a new Cirrus aircraft project. Our solution, which was delivered to Cirrus in just 30 days, was a full-scale fuselage prototype created using additive manufacturing. We printed over 130 thin-walled panels and developed a proprietary system of mechanical joints and assembly to build a 9′ x 4.5′ model that became the ambassador of Mike’s new design concept.

Dimensional accuracy was critical in this project which is why it is a perfect example of Mike’s theory that 1/8 of an inch can make all the difference.


  • 01:07 Welcome and introduction
  • 03:32 Accomplishments at Cirrus
  • 04:30 Ideas behind the Cirrus SR20 & SR22
  • 07:14 Creating the best passenger experience
  • 08:07 Hand constructed full-scale fuselage of the vision jet
  • 11:12 The ⅛’s of an inch difference
  • 12:11 3D printed full-scale fuselage shows ⅛’s of an inch
  • 14:22 An accomplishment