3D-printed UAV can go from not existing to flying within 24 hours

Engineers at the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (AMRC) have made a 3D-printed UAV airframe that’s designed to minimize the amount of material needed in its construction, and that can be printed and in the air within a single day. The blended-wing UAV was made from ABS plastic using a Stratasys Fortus 900mc FDM (fused deposition modeling) machine. The team chose this method over others, due to its lower initial investment, material cost and simplified process. To minimize cost, the AMRC UAV was designed in such a way that all of its components could be FDM-built without the need for support material. The airframe can be disassembled by hand into two main aerofoils, making it easier to transport. When put together, it has a wingspan of 1.5 meters (4.9 ft) and a weight of less than 2 kg (4.4 lb) – that’s not counting the motor and electronics.

A front view of the 3d-printed UAV airframe. (Source: gizmag.com)

Read more by Ben Coxworth, gizmag, April 2, 2014