The team of engineers from the AMRC’s new Design & Prototyping Group (DPG) have designed and 3D-printed the UAV airframe, entirely of ABS plastic, using Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) technology, in a way to minimize the amount of material needed in its construction.
The recent increase in the use of both additive layer manufacturing and UAVs has led to the availability of a number of 3D printed UAVs for a range of applications. Small wingspan, fixed wing aircraft are used for applications ranging from hobby flying to reconnaissance and humanitarian aid.
“By understanding the capability of the FDM process & associated software, we were able to manipulate the design to contain a number of unique features as well as preventing build deformation. All parts required for the airframe can be combined onto a single build within the DPGs Fortus 900 machine, taking less than 24 hours with ABS-M30 material. Before design for additive manufacture optimisation, this airframe would take over 120 hours to produce.”
“The whole airframe was designed specifically for additive manufacture. The optimum configuration for the diverse requirements of aerodynamic performance and FDM manufacture appeared to be the blended-wing-body. This type of design has a number of advantages: Primarily for this project, it lends itself to FDM technology due to the smooth leading and trailing edges over each half-span.“