The drone is collaboratively developed by NTU’s Singapore Centre for 3D Printing and Stratasys Asia Pacific, a subsidiary of Stratasys, a 3D printing and additive production solutions company. The drone, which is a quadcopter with four rotors was crafted, 3D printed and flown by Mr. Phillip Keane, an NTU PhD student from the School of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering who investigates at the University’s Singapore Centre for 3D Printing.
In 3-dimensional printing, objects are prepared digitally layer by layer till completion. But, embedding electrical can be a limitation, as most will not be able to survive the big temperatures of the 3D printing procedure.
Commercial grade electrical were hence transformed and placed within the drone at the numerous stages of printing procedure. They survived the big temperature printing that reached over 160 Degree Celsius, in comparison to the usual 80 to 100 Degrees. Just the propeller and motors were mounted after the entire chassis was finished.
Mr. Keane confirmed that “One of the biggest limitations was to identify electrical components that could survive the big temperature printing procedure we had to add some heat – proofing modifications to the elements to ensure they could last. It involved placing novel components to the printed circuit boards and also crafting custom housings.” The drone was completed in just 14 hours. During the process of printing, there were just three pauses for the electrical to be placed within the chassis. “The housings that were printed in ULTEM 9085 also offered a flat surface for the 3D printed to continue printing over them. I also had to confine with tight time limitations as some of the elements could not survive in the heat for more than 20 minutes.”
Lecturer Chua Chee Kai, an Executive Director of NTU’s SC3DP says that this is a successful instance of disruptive innovation and can be accomplished when scientists from academia work with the industry partners. “At NTU, we have pioneering researchers with extensive knowledge of substances and 3D printing procedures who have introduced innovative methods to overcome the challenges of existing technologies,” explains professor Chua, the world’s most known scientists in the niche of 3D printing.
“In association with Stratasys engineers and their quality knowledge of 3D printing, we were able to boost the limits of present technology and print a drone that is highly durable and can withstand high levels of heat.”
“This study exemplifies the power of Stratasys Flagship fused deposition modeling or FDM 3D printing technology and precisely illustrates the strength of the ULTEM resin,” states Fred Fischer, director of products and applications, stratasys Asia Pacific. “We look further to analyze, develop and disclose more possibilities with 3D printing and substances as we function with academia and industry partners.”
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