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3D-Printed UAV Can Go From Atoms to Airborne in 24 Hours 77

Posted by timothy
from the concept-and-model-in-one dept.
Zothecula (1870348) writes "Because 3D printing allows one-off items to be created quickly and cheaply, it should come as no surprise that the technology has already been used to produce unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. Engineers at the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (AMRC), however, have taken things a step farther. They've 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."
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3D-Printed UAV Can Go From Atoms to Airborne in 24 Hours

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  • so what.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    airframes are trivial. When they can print a motor and power supply, then maybe they'll have something

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by pepty (1976012)

      airframes are trivial. When they can print a motor and power supply, then maybe they'll have something

      They can print copper and silver wire, as well as strontium ferrite magnets. Switching from a linear motor (the 3D printed speaker below) to a rotary motor wouldn't be difficult.

      http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2013/12/fully-functional-loudspeaker-3-d-printed

      A PSU ... capacitors, resistors, semiconductors, induction coils, and transistors can all be printed. How good a motor and a PSU you can print and how many different printers it would take to make all of the components are other questions.

      • Re:so what.... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Bartles (1198017) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @09:47PM (#46680407)
        Or you can just use copper or silver wire, without having to wait for a machine that can print it. 3d printers are cool, but let's not put them on a pedestal.
        • I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a 3D-printed hammer, to treat everything as if it were a 3D-printed nail.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        You're delusional. You have no idea if that speaker's performance even comes close to the performance of a dollar store speaker, how much it cost, how long it took to print and what its useful lifespan is.

        And if it takes a specially prepared slurry (presumably made in an old Luddite factory, eh?) to make the magnet, doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose of 3D printing?

        But let's not let that little detail get in the way of a good 3D auto-fellation,eh?

        And do you think rare-earth magnets just go full stre

        • by pepty (1976012)

          You're delusional. You have no idea if that speaker's performance even comes close to the performance of a dollar store speaker, how much it cost, how long it took to print and what its useful lifespan is.

          More like you're too lazy to read to the end of a comment:

          How good a motor and a PSU you can print and how many different printers it would take to make all of the components are other questions.

          I have no problems discerning between a proof of concept and a viable commercial device/ viable commercial process. If you wanted to specify the latter, you should have done so in your posed challenge instead of getting snippy later on.

          And printing transistors? That's so far away from anything that's even remotely possible, I'm speechless.

          You don't get out much, do you?

          Fully Printed, High Performance Carbon Nanotube Thin-Film Transistors on Flexible Substrates

          http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nl401934a

          Lucent started printing transistors in the '90s. PARC and their partners are developing printed memory, transistors, and sensors as commerc

      • by jklovanc (1603149)

        They can print copper

        from the article;

        For the conductor, Kiran used a silver ink. For the magnet, he employed the help of Samanvaya Srivastava, graduate student in chemical and biomolecular engineering, to come up with a viscous blend of strontium ferrite.

        I see no mention of copper.

        Switching from a linear motor (the 3D printed speaker below) to a rotary motor wouldn't be difficult.

        I live statements like this; "since we can do A we can do B because they use a similar principle". A linear motor and a radial motor are drastically different. A linear motor is a magnet inside a coil. A few wraps of conductor will do for the coil. For a radial motor you need many more fine conductors wrapped close together to work. Then there is the issue of bearings which have to be smooth enough to handle a few hundred RPM for a significant period of time. A s

        • by pepty (1976012)
          The posed challenge was "When they can print a motor and power supply", not "when will it make sense to print a motor and power supply". In this case, if you can make a proof of principle speaker, you can make a proof of principle radial motor, neither of which will probably be very practical. One coil, no bearings is enough to make it spin (til the plastic bits melt/wear out).
          • by jklovanc (1603149)

            In this case, if you can make a proof of principle speaker, you can make a proof of principle radial motor,

            That is a huge leap and a big assumption with no basis in fact. The coil in a linear motor is very different than a coil in a radial motor. The point is that no one has made a 3D printed radial motor. There is a reason for that.

    • by Hentes (2461350)

      Heck, if they could print a working rotor I would be very impressed.

  • Quick!! (Score:1, Troll)

    by bradgoodman (964302)
    Quick!!! A 3D printer can print something! This is newsworthy fodder for Slashdot!!
    • Quick!!! A 3D printer can print something! This is newsworthy fodder for Slashdot!!

      And naturally the thing being created is currently very "sexy" in the tech world - a UAV! Why, the uses are unlimited! Amazon can deliver products to the products (you and I), and, and, and...

      I think there are many great possibilities for 3D printing beyond the UAV / plastic gun craze, though.

      • I think there are many great possibilities for 3D printing beyond the UAV / plastic gun craze, though.

        You are on to something. A 3D printed aerial assault vehicle with 3D printed armaments! All printed in 23 hours!

      • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

        do you really think we are the "products" for amazon? I always felt like a customer. I'm giving them cash, and they're not making money from advertising. Not like goog and fb.

    • Quick!!! A 3D printer can print something! This is newsworthy fodder for Slashdot!!

      And call it what it is. In this case, a glider.

  • Enough (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 06, 2014 @08:03PM (#46680015)

    Enough with these "3d printer miracle stories". They arent printing a UAV. They are printing some wings and a fuselage. You still need an engine, control electronics, etc.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Seriously. The 3D cock lost its erection months ago. It seems it's still being sucked by many geeks who can't come to grips with the fact they've been duped.
    • "Need more vespene gas!"

      Wouldn't you know it!? Rookie mistake!

  • what if the engine was printed first? "they still need wings and a fuselage..."
  • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @08:11PM (#46680047)

    Injection moulded UAV airframe produced in.... minutes?

    The images look pretty poor quality, you can tell by the reflections that the wing shape is bumpy. I guess that's what happens when you 3D print without support material, bits sag while they cool down.

    • by MiKM (752717)

      Injection moulded UAV airframe produced in.... minutes?

      Out of curiosity, how long would it take to create the mold?

    • Injection moulded UAV airframe produced in.... minutes?

      How many minutes and $$$ to produce the mold? It's pretty clear that 3d printing is a poor substitute for bulk production processes. It is however a viable option in case you want to quickly produce a single instance of an item (prototyping, or locations where shipping or stocking items is too slow or too expensive). It's also a good option to produce small runs of complex items. One of my clients started using a (industrial-quality) 3d printer to produce highly complex manifolds for pumps. They had tr

      • It looks like these guys aren't printing anything complex. They're printing something large.
        It takes them 24 hours to print the UAV frame on a half-million dollar 3D printer. Apparently with all the support material they took away it used to take 120 hours.

        They've taken a very large, expensive hammer and pounded a square peg into a round hole.
        Injection molding is probably also not a good fit for this particular application. They should have spent the 120 hours 3D printing a mold for vacuum forming and made

  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @08:15PM (#46680061)

    A remote controlled airplane is not a UAV. A remote controlled multi-rotor is not a drone.

    • A remote controlled airplane is not a UAV. A remote controlled multi-rotor is not a drone.

      technically it is. Anything that flies without a pilot is an Unmanned Arial Vehicle. Be it a fixed wing or helicopter or multi-rotor

      That said to it always ticks me off when somebody calls my quads or hexes drones. They are NOT drones. Drones [in my mind anyway] are killing/spying machines used by the military. Mine are Multi-Rotors. Hobby level flying bricks that just happen to have cameras on them. And not for spying. So I can watch my flights and see what I did wrong.

      • by Zembar (803935)

        technically it is. Anything that flies without a pilot is an Unmanned Arial Vehicle. Be it a fixed wing or helicopter or multi-rotor .

        Not completely true though. To count as a vehicle it has to transport something, if we're picking at words.

  • I don't see any openings in the body and no propellers or bumps on it in the video; obviously they added stuff inside - but what?? (The see-through drawing in the video shows nothing?!) I think the real story here is how this thing is magically flying. ;)
    • by bluescrn (2120492)
      This 'flying wing' design is fairly popular with RC aircraft hobbyists. They generally use a pusher propeller on the back, and large control surfaces on each wing known as elevons (combined elevator + ailerons).
  • by Dan East (318230) on Sunday April 06, 2014 @09:10PM (#46680287) Homepage Journal

    3D-Printed UAV Can Go From Atoms to Airborne in 24 Hours

    And even more impressively, it can go from Airborne to Atoms in only 2 seconds.

    • 3D-Printed UAV Can Go From Atoms to Airborne in 24 Hours

      And even more impressively, it can go from Airborne to Atoms in only 2 seconds.

      That's nothing. See this rock here? ::woosh:: Now it's airborne. Took less than a second.

      Ah, it's coming back down. Check this out: Feel how the rock is being pulled down to the ground? No matter how long you hold it, it will keep applying that downward force. Infinite energy.

      Look around. Notice anything? Yep, not a single tiger in sight. Repels them.

  • That's what I am waiting for.

  • I'd like to see them print the electronics.
  • In other news, a non-3D printed equivalent UAV can be made from zero to flying in about 1H... and has been so for years.
    It will also probably fly better.. all you need is a block of EPP foam and a hot wire (the cut itself takes 5min, full build about 1H)

    so yeah.. it says 3D printer QUICK it must be worth some ads-prints publish!

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