Drones, or UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), are a growing technology used in many different sectors and their designs must suit their specific application. 3D printing facilitates drone innovation by enabling design freedom, as well as fast and affordable prototyping and printing of parts. It is possible to 3D print many of a drone’s parts including the frame, propellers, the landing gear, protective equipment and casings for the electronic components.
With the cost and time efficiency that 3D printing offers, each of these parts can be optimized, customized and upgraded to suit the exact needs of the business it is serving. If you are using or considering using drones for your business, 3D printing has the potential to substantially enhance your drone’s function.
Cut Time and Costs By Turning to 3D Printing for Customized Drones
Commercial drones can be highly expensive and out of reach for smaller businesses that rely on the use of drones to grow their business. 3D printing cuts costs in many different areas including prototyping, customization and manufacturing and therefore makes specialty drones more accessible. It also speeds up the design and prototyping process so that changes can be implemented and the design can evolve more quickly. Kespry, a company that specializes in drones for mapping and surveying, were able to successfully grow their business thanks in part to the affordability of 3D printing their drone parts. Prototyping and printing the covers for their drones’ electronic components cost substantially less than traditional manufacturing methods like injection molding.
Design a Drone that Suits Your Business Perfectly
Even with the wide range of drones already out there, why rely on a ready-made drone that only suits some of your needs? If you need drones to transport supplies and other cargo, to perform reconnaissance in tight spaces or remote areas, or to catch stunning video footage from the sky, 3D printing can allow you to upgrade drones to suit your business specifically.
Optimize Your Drone Based on its Function
A drone transporting cargo would need a much sturdier, reinforced frame, for example, whereas an FPV drone carrying a small camera might benefit from a more lightweight body. Perhaps your drone needs to be weather resistant and be able to continue flying in unpredictable conditions. No matter what your business’s unique set of needs is, 3D printing allows you to make specific design choices.
Take Advantage of a Higher Level of Geometric Complexity
3D printing technology allows designs to incorporate a higher complexity, allowing parts to be produced more efficiently. Using 3D Printing, companies like Quantum Systems are able to consolidate their drone parts by taking advantage of the ability to produce more complex designs that integrate multiple functions into one part. This not only saves time and materials but also gives them the opportunity to add any needed features to their designs without compromising on the drone’s weight.
Prototype Your Drone Parts
Prototyping with 3D printing helps make customizing drones accessible even to smaller businesses. The process allows for unprecedented speed and cost reduction in making sure your drone is the best it can be. Instead of waiting months to test new iterations, changes can be made to 3D designs within hours, then printed and shipped to you in days. Implementing changes quickly allows for a faster evolution of a design and to find exactly what is right for your business.
Print Your Parts with the Appropriate 3D Printing Method and Materials
Selecting the right 3D printing technology and materials will depend on the drone. SLA printing provides a high level of precision and a wide range of materials to choose from. The material should be tough and versatile and be able to handle stretching, bending and impact. Nylon is another option as it is strong, temperature resistant and is also good for printing drone fuselages that resist collision damages.
Partner Up with a Service To Achieve the Highest Level of Quality
For the most efficient printing process, it is important to have dedicated support and access to the highest quality results. Our services at Shapeways enable businesses of all sizes to develop specialty drones without incurring high equipment startup costs and navigating the trial and error of adapting to a new technology. That way your focus can be on your needs and your unique drone design while the production of prototypes and parts is taken care of.
Drones are used for such a wide range of projects and functions that having specific enhancements to suit its purpose are hugely beneficial. Traditional manufacturing methods would have made unique alterations inaccessible to many smaller businesses but thanks to 3D printing, updating a drone’s design has limitless opportunities. Whether your business uses or produces and sells drones, customization will become more and more important and 3D printing is the best suited technology to facilitate it.
See how Shapeways can help you produce the best drones to grow your business.