Last week Paul of spyyne3d shared his newest drone in our “feature this” forum and I had to share it out on our blog. The Honeycomb Drone is a lightweight, elegant frame built from Shapeways printed parts and created with open source software. If you want to build a small drone with a few simple parts, this is a great option. On the product page there are instructions on where to buy the additional, non-3D printed hardware and detailed instructions on assembly.
I reached out to Paul to learn more about how he got started building drones and learn more about him as a designer.
Tell us a little about your background. How did you get started making?
I grew up on a cattle station in a remote area of Australia and I’ve had experience designing and building with steel from a young age. My father taught me to weld when I was 13 so metal fabrication has been a major part of my life.When I finished school I moved into the city to study geology and became interested in drones because I saw a wide application for their use in the field. I have always had a strong interest in radio controlled vehicles and anything mechanical so I started researching robotics and composite materials in my spare time.
A few months ago I bought my first drone and it occurred to me that the structural design and overall build could be greatly improved. I decided to build a quadcopter frame and soon realized that 3D printing was the only way to create what I was imagining. I had never held a 3D printed object before so I was enthusiastic to test out this new technology. Over a few weeks I taught myself Autodesk Inventor and I was surprised by how easily I could create the shapes I wanted. When the first prototype arrived, I was impressed by the quality and strength of the parts. It really opened up my mind to what could be possible with additive manufacturing now and into the future.
I believe that if something is designed in a form-follows-function manner it will always look good, and I’ve always used this philosophy in things I’ve built. I look to nature for inspiration, particularly the skeletons of animals because they are the result of billions of design iterations. The honeycomb drone was actually inspired by the hollowed out nature of a skull.
What are your goals for your Shapeways shop?
The goal of my shop is to create hybrid looking bio inspired objects which surpass people’s expectations of what can be manufactured. By utilizing the possibilities of 3D printing, I hope to create a new range of products which are lightweight and strong which cannot be manufactured in any other way.
We’re excited to order these parts and make one of our own Honeycomb drones for the office. How would you build and customize a 3D printed drone with Shapeways? Start following Paul and his Shapeways shop to always see what he is dreaming up next.