A team of half a dozen aeronautical engineers from the Southampton University, UK, designed this successfully flying plane in just 2 days and was printed and constructed in only 5 days. From a pile of dust to a week later rose and subsequently catapulted into the air, a home built drone!
Made from Hard Nylon and printed by 3T RPD of Greenham Common, Berkshire, the 1.5-metre-wingspan plane was built on a budget of just £5,000, thus imposing various design considerations and technical constraints. With no complex undercarriage the plane is launched into the air of the Wiltshire Downs near Stonehenge by catapult and features a V-shaped tail rather than the traditional 3 fin, so that only two parts had to be printed. The moving parts were naturally printed reducing further time input.
Matthew Bennett of autopilot-maker SkyCircuits provided the computer ARM-microchip-based controlled flying abilities whilst also being manually piloted by Paul Heckles for complete control.
The long term thinking of this project is to research the ability for drones to be printed on site in demanding situations and sent into the air for useful reconnaissance missions. A highly useful and life saving application can be seen for regular occurring natural disasters where this could be mass printed to suit the situation on site.
Source: New Scientist