Part of a complex fan blade fabricated in steel using a wire + arc additive manufacturing process (WAAM) which deposits layers of metal from a wire in a technique derived from welding. The base of the item is an integral part of the manufacturing process but will be removed by machining in the finishing stage, which also gives a conventional smoothness to the metal part. WAAM deposits layers of metal from a wire in a technique derived from welding. Items produced by this method are subsequently machined to a conventional finish but the time taken to manufacture such pieces from steel, aluminium, titanium, copper and other metals, alloys and composite materials is significantly shorter than using conventional methods, with considerable cost savings. The concept was first described in 1926 but developments in robotic control are creating interest in its possible importance in the manufacture of, for instance, aircraft parts which are conventionally cut from solid blocks of metal.Photographed at Cranfield University, UK.