3D Printers Are Now Making Miniature Airplanes


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3D printers can make everything from guns to robots. Now some university students are exploring what 3D printers can do in flight.

Students at the Wright Brothers Institute have created a 3D printed airplane as part of the Disposable Miniature Air Vehicle Project. The team, consisting of three students and their project lead, Dr. Rob Williams, was tasked to create a 3D printable airplane that could be quickly printed while remaining cost effective. In short, they accomplished their task with a plan that can be printed in hours with only $16 worth of plastic.

Here's what the team had to say about their project:

The first fixed wing aircraft to have a fully 3D printed airframe using FDM technology. The airframe has no internal reinforcements such as carbon rods or otherwise, making this aircraft unique compared to other FDM aircraft which depend on reinforcements for structural integrity. It is additionally believed to be the first low-wing style plane to be 3D printed.

Here's a video of a test flight:

With the proliferation of cheap 3D printers, the RC airplane industry may soon see some stiff competition from the makers of the world.

[h/t: 3ders]

[Image: Wright Brothers Institute]