3D Printing – Quadcopter
ambience: remote controlled quadcopter
You’ve seen remote controlled copters. Here’s one with a difference it was made on a 3D printer. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.
Buss: So, this a remote-controlled quadcopter. It flies with four motors and a control board in the center. It uses propellers that are nine inches long to create thrust. This one here’s set up with a camera and a video transmitter to fly remotely.
That”s Cam Buss, a student at Blacksburg High School, and an intern at Virginia Tech’s DREAMS lab – where they do a lot of 3D Printing. Using layer upon layer of polymer plastic, 3D printers can manufacture just about anything you can dream up including helicopters. This quadcopter was designed by Cam. Except for the electronics, the entire folding structure was made on a 3D printer.
Buss: So I used a computer automated design, so it was completely on the computer, and I modeled each part and then did a stress test. After three designs, I finally accomplished it, and it’s fully 3D-printed and folds up into a circular tube.
Williams: The entire design process was done digitally.
Chris Williams is Director of the Design, Research, and Education for Additive Manufacturing Systems or DREAMS Laboratory at Virginia Tech.
Williams: So, when Cam mentions that he did a stress test, it means he did that virtually, using analysis software. And then he did the assembly, meaning the integration of parts is all done digitally, and then, because the input to the 3D printer is the digital file itself, and that entire process is automated. So, Cam put the part into the printer and left it to print by itself overnight. So you can come in the next day, and the print is complete.
You can see pictures of Cam Buss’s quadcopter, on pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.