Low-cost disposable 3D printed drone takes its maiden flight
Over the last few years drones have evolved from some sci-fi flying object into an unmanned aerial vehicle that is used from restaurant food delivery assistant to mail delivery buddy. Now Engineers at University of Sheffield have designed a 1.5m-wide unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) using 3D printing technique keeping the material cost down to $10. Weighing just 2kgs and made from 9 separate parts; this prototype disposable drone is ideal for deliveries, search & rescue missions and spying. The drone took its first test flight from the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre as a glider, and now the researchers want to add twin ducted fan propulsion system to it for better maneuvering of the craft.
The drone is made using fused deposition modelling (FDM) and from polymer called thermoplastic. This enables anyone to make their own drone at home within 24 hours using normal 3D printers. Compare this to the earlier versions that required support material around component parts to prevent airframe from deforming during build process.
This new 3D printed drone paves way for future technologies that are looking to simplify and reduce the costs of products in a big way.