As every regular in the making community will underline, there are almost countless 3D printable designs out there for drones and quadcopters in every shape and form. That’s hardly surprising, as they’re fantastic fun to build and use, but most are quite simple amateurish creations that quickly get repetitive. Professional quality (non 3D printed) drones, meanwhile, are in a very different price class altogether. Fortunately, one Thingiverse user reminds us of a middle way. British designer Steve Wagg has recently shared designs for an easily 3D printed drone that closely resembles the professional DJI’s Inspire 1 drone.
While the creative geniuses over at Adafruit are well known for sharing fun, original and nerdy designs that are perfect for completing Halloween and cosplay costumes, they use their building skills for a lot more than that. The Ruiz brothers are also known for assembling mini and convenient computing solutions, such as this Raspberry Pi Mini Computer. Their latest project, a DIY secondary pc monitor in 3D printed housing, is even more useful as a perfect addition to any crowded desktop.
Most of us, as seems to be innately human, have wished to know what it would be like to fly–really fly–like a bird, having the power to soar over the geography of our beautiful planet. With this desire often comes a fascination with planes and beyond. When combined with design talent and engineering prowess, a handful of inventors allow us to glimpse impressive aerial innovation and some truly incredible man-made sights overhead.
While we see quite a lot of 3D printed drones pass by, most of those are just fun toys rather than military machines. And yet the British navy has just shown us that 3D printed drones can definitely be a tremendous military asset. Last Tuesday, British warship HMS Mersey set out off the south coast of England with the express purpose of testing a 3D printed drone. While a simple plastic device you and I could assemble, the British navy are seriously considering incorporating 3D printed drones into the warship arsenal for autonomous flying missions in emergency situations.
As the aerospace industry continues to explore applications for additive manufacturing ranging from components within airplane engines to even seat belt buckles, it’s not surprising that the developments have found their way into other types of products, too - such as missiles.
Previously, we’ve seen how the engineers and astronauts at NASA - along with 3D printer manufacturer Made in Space - are embracing 3D printing in zero gravity environments with the addition of a 3D printer in the International Space Station and the ability to email STL files to space directly from earth. Now, it’s looking like they want to put 3D printing to good use to create robot drones that are capable of further exploring space, starting with the 'Asteroid Prospector Flyer' Drone.
While robotics has been one of the technologies ‘of the future’ ever since I can remember, the field is finally coming into its own led by demands in manufacturing, along with numerous innovations in electronics, engineering, and design–as well as the advent of 3D printing which has given it a massive boost on every level.