This laser sintered seat buckle was part of a research project on the use of additive manufacturing to reduce carbon emissions. The project initially seemed impossible. Additive manufacturing methods are very energy intensive and therefore anything but 'green'. Then we realised that the environmental benefits of the technology were not in the production, but the use of the parts.
An ultra-lightweight seat buckle may be expensive to make, but the amount of energy it would save over the life of a large passenger aircraft would be enormous. The design used the same geometry as a conventional seat buckle. However, it was optimised to use new production processes unique to laser sintered metals and helped Crucible develop one of the first guides on design for 3D printing.