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  1. #1
    JoeVen's Avatar
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    3D printed plane

    I did some search in the forum but I couldnΒ΄t find anything related to 3D printing technic to build expecifically flying machines.
    IΒ΄ve found out on the web the outstanding achievement of two mechanical engineering students, Steven Easter and Jonathan Turman, helped by the professor David Sheffler of University of Virginia, in prosuing of an intership opportunity they were challenged to desing, built and test one of the few model planes available made from scracht of 3D printed parts.
    The two students named their proyect "Wendy", which is built of light ABS modules snaped together like a LEGO for an easy replacement as indeed the had to made the very first time they tried test the plane which resulted damaged in the landing gear area just taxing.
    They were able to redesing and rebuilt WendyΒ΄s belly to fly it succesfully the next weekend by the end of last August 2012 in Milton Airfield, Keswick.

    Links:

    MAE University of Virginia

    NBC News

    Model Airplane News

    It would be wonderful receive your inputs for further information such as videos, maiden flight, how works 3D print, etc.

    Micro turbines, spread spectrum radios, FPV... would "3D print construction" be the next boom?
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    Good pilot leaving the ground, best builder landing on!

  2. #2
    FlyerInOKC's Avatar
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    RE: 3D printed plane

    Nice looking airplane I wonder how it flies? Now if we just knew three things:

    1. What does the airplane cost to print?

    2. What does the printer cost?

    3. How many hours does it take to design the airplane in CAD and then modify it to meet the printer's needs?
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  3. #3
    ppljr's Avatar
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    RE: 3D printed plane

    I think these guys were one of the first ones...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffrJ0l2ETaU

  4. #4

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    RE: 3D printed plane

    the school i go to  is getting a 3d printer but it works by setting the resin with a certain light wave so the end product has no 'grain' so to speak of. it only has a 200x200 printing table so it would be small but i am going to make a design and print one out.

  5. #5

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    RE: 3D printed plane

    Could you share the blueprints?

  6. #6

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    RE: 3D printed plane

    Interesting application.

    I'd like to see a competition ... perhaps akin to the SAE's payload competition ... which is specifically for printed models.

    I was involved with the English version of the payload comp. It's been running for about 20 years and it's getting a bit stale. Something like this could reinvigorate it.

  7. #7
    Ron S's Avatar
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    RE: 3D printed plane

    I have been involved in making model parts for wind tunnel models using "3D Printers" and the like for the last 16 years or so. The technologies differ from method to method, but for the most part, the process involves laying down a thin layer of plastic, resin, ABS material, and now some metals in flat patterns. Additional layers are laid on top of the lower layers, until you have your final part. Some processes (Stereolithography) use "puddles" of resin that are cured locally with a laser, so your part "grows" in a resin bath (to some extent).

    Making a simple part will require you model up a part using a CAD system first - one small detail that has been left out of all the "hype" recently over "3D printing". That means training to develop your part design, time to do your design work, creating a part file that will be readable to your "3D printing" device, and materials - most of which are not cheap.

    For applications in the model airplane world, the materials are not particularly optimum from a strength-to-weight perspective, relative to our typical balsa wood, ply, carbon and glass layups. Over time, materials have been getting better strength characteristics. I wouldn't want to spend the time / upfront investment money to do this for model airplane parts, but the process can be excellent for detail parts that undergo medium to low loads (cockpit details, fairings, display models, shapes for castings, etc). Parts can be created to form molds to be used for higher strength materials, etc. With better materials, (and better cost of the machines/materials), its use will surely increase.

    Here are a few links that describe some of the processes:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereolithography

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fused_deposition_modeling

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_...aser_sintering

    There are several companies out there like quickparts.com that provide services that will "grow" your parts for you. Make sure you're credit card is ready.

    Ron S - JPO District VIII Rep.


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