AMRC Aviation 3D Printed UAV
what can you do in one day? fly fishing for the first half and perhaps, jet skiing for the rest? or for some it is just another day at the desk, but for the folks at University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (AMRC), one day is all it takes to start from nothing and arrive to...

what can you do in one day? fly fishing for the first half and perhaps, jet skiing for the rest? or for some it is just another day at the desk, but for the folks at University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (AMRC), one day is all it takes to start from nothing and arrive to a fully functional and flying UAV. what you see here is the unmanned aerial vehicle that we are talking about; thanks to the advancement in 3D printing, the folks at AMRC’s Design and Prototyping Group is able to print this sleek UAV airframe, put in the necessary components and have it take to the sky – all in a matter of 24 hours. sporting a blended-wing design as seen in many of today’s UAV, this 3D printed marvel was made from ABS plastic using a Stratasys Fortus 900mc Fused Deposition Modeling (or FDM) machine.

AMRC Aviation 3D Printed UAV

according to the brainchild behind this project, FDM is a lower cost and simpler solution as compared to other 3D printing methods, albeit with some technical hurdles which can be quite costly to get around. one such hurdle is the support material required to be added around the components as they are being printed to keep it from deforming. the support materials used are not part of the craft and will be removed once the item has been printed. whether the supporting material remains or removed is not a critical issue, but rather, increase cost and build time that are of the concern. the team brainstormed and eventually came up with a UAV design that allows all the components to be printed using FDM, sans the supports and that was how it can be made in under 24 hours as opposed to the previous 120+ hours.

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AMRC Aviation 3D Printed UAV

the result is an airframe that can be broken down to two main aerofoils for easy storage and transportation. when assembled, the aircraft measures 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) wide and weighs in at under 2 kg (4.4 lbs). of course, the weight there is just the airframe and does not include essentials such as motor and other electronics like servos, gyros and more to get it up and flying. in any case, as far as cost is concerned, this innovation is certainly a good news for the world of UAVs, be it for commercial or military and to certain extend, hobbyists. you can catch the craft in action in the video after the fold.

AMRC Aviation 3D Printed UAV

AMRC via Gizmag