3D Print Your Own Drone: Coming Soon

3D Print Your Own Drone: Coming Soon

Ready to create your own drone? Soon enough, Amazon won’t be the only one with the ability to produce drones.

Just seven months ago, Amazon announced Prime Air: an unmanned air drone that promises to deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less. The company predicts that it will be launching sometime in 2015.

Researchers at Sheffield University successfully printed a low-cost, working air drone that took them less than 24 hours to make.

The drone was created using a Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) printer, and it’s made of a polymer called thermoplastic. Using an FDM printer takes longer to produce compared to other printing methods, such as  selective laser sintering (SLS), which uses lasers to fused particles together. The materials for each drone is said to cost only £5.50 ($9), weighing at 2kg (4.4lbs), and is 1.5m wide consisting of nine different parts that come together.

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The engineers are now looking at ways to use nylon as the printing material, in place of plastic, which would make the UAV 60 percent stronger, without increasing its weight.

The UK team at Sheffield University says that the drone could have applications to one-way deliveries, searches or reconnaissance missions. Researchers state that the low production cost of the air drone “might lead to the printing of 3-D unmanned aircraft that could be disposable and sent on one-way flights.”

Dr Garth Nicholson, the leader of the project, said: “Following successful flight testing, we are working to incorporate blended winglets and twin ducted fan propulsion.”

“We are also investigating full on-board data logging of flight parameters, autonomous operation by GPS, and control by surface morphing technology,” he added.

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