Drones and 3D printing might be the two hottest topics in the tech world today. Each has built momentum over the past few years by grabbing headlines, building community support, and slipping into our everyday lives through new and innovative applications.
So when I was asked to pick a topic for a 3DP Summer Roadshow event, drones were an easy choice.
Drones, also known as multicopters or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are essentially flying robots. They’re decked out with specialized electronics, high power motors, and various sensors to help them fly smoothly, completely level, and even autonomously through GPS checkpoints.
Everything rides in a chassis optimized for low weight and high rigidity. A typical chassis is made from a combination of carbon fiber, aluminum, and injection molded plastic components.
Drones and 3D printing are not only topical, but also symbiotic technologies. From a design and manufacturing perspective, a drone is a perfect platform to demonstrate the importance and utility of 3D printing in today’s product development workflow.
With only 3 weeks to research, design, prototype, and build a functional drone in time for the first Summer Roadshow events, our Stratasys 3D printers were the only tools up to the task.
Although my work began with simple prototyping, my designs soon included assembly fixtures, carbon fiber layup tools, and molds for cast urethane and even injection molding.
Our Summer Roadshow is a glimpse into this 3DP-enabled workflow. We’ll cover what we’ve done and, more importantly, why we did it. From start to finish, this project has been completed in our offices (with an occasional late night in the garage…) to leave no doubt: we did it, and so can you!
So far we’ve shared our story in Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City, and Santa Ana. Check the upcoming dates for a city near you:
- Aug. 13: Carrolton, TX
- Aug. 14: Houston, TX
- Aug. 27: Santa Clara, CA
- Sept. 2: San Diego, CA
- Sept. 11: Woodland Hills, CA