When Amazon announced it would one day be using drones for rapid delivery of goods most laughed. Only a few months later that dream is looking a lot more solid, as a team from The University of Sheffield has developed and tested a drone that could be built form scratch in less than 24 hours and is so cheap that it could be used as a disposable tool for one way flight. How? With 3D printing, of course.
The Engineers at the University’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) have successfully 3D printed a 1.5 meter wide unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Their production method shifted from time consuming traditional manufacturing with expensive tooling to more efficient 3D printable designs requiring minimal support material and this video, which we have featured before, shows their first working prototype:
However, while the drone in the video works as a glider, more details are emerging and the University’s researchers are working to incorporate an electric ducted fan propulsion system into the airframe’s central spine. They also plan to develop a GPS guided automatic pilot system for autonomous operations, or a camera based control by an external operator wearing first person-view googles. … (Read more)