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Can You Make Drones and Their Parts with 3D Printing Technology?

Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have been used in a range of industries such as agriculture, military, aerospace/airlines and security. With its versatility, it’s no wonder that many businesses are utilising drones to support work processes.

3D printing is a technology that can streamline the process of drone manufacturing. In fact, all assembly parts in drones – apart from its electronic components – can possibly be 3D printed using innovative techniques, which will allow manufacturers to create customisable drones in high volume and at low cost.

Top 4 Benefits of 3D Printing Drones

1. Cater to on-demand manufacturing

For starters, drones can now be manufactured on demand as opposed to being built by hand when you need them which will slow down the production immensely.

2. Cut down time on repairs

For many companies in Singapore, it is a common scenario for drones to experience hard landing and crashes in flights – especially in the face of headwinds and strong winds or when the battery runs out. More often than not, your drones may sustain damage to its parts as a result.

The task of repairing or replacing drone parts, however, can be a daunting one when you are looking for a timely fix. It is still necessary as operating a broken drone in the interim may increase the chances of an accident occurring within its premises. Where the expense associated with both sourcing and purchasing new components can be quite high, 3D printing services are useful in providing new components at substantial time and cost savings. 

3. Create lightweight drones at a fraction of the cost

Here, the 3D printed parts in advanced autonomous drones offer a more cost-efficient way to expand drug smuggling interdiction efforts. Radio Frequency (RF) components such as waveguides, lenses, antennas and filters can be developed at a faster speed through additive manufacturing. Additionally, you may find a significant weight reduction in 3D-printed drones with more options for infill percentage or number of perimeters in the process.

4. Achieve custom-built drones

Depending on the 3D printing process, you are able to make any part in your choice of colour and material. This way, you’ll achieve the best mechanical properties for that specific component and order exactly what you need. Apart from the main parts, drone accessories such as cases and coverings are produced easily with the help of the 3D technology to provide a secure storage for your drones.

How are Drones 3D-Printed

Interested in learning more about how you can 3D print your drones? For hobbyists as well as makers in schools and universities, Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) 3D printing is increasingly used to facilitate the development of drones for educational purposes. For FDM 3D printing, the infills of the parts can also be lower to create lightweight parts. 

You can learn more about FDM 3D printing here.

Should you require more aerodynamic, quality finishing and accurate sizes for your drone project, you have the option of Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) and Multi-Jet Fusion (MJF) 3D printing technologies. Within days of sending in your Computer-Aided Design (CAD) file to your trusted 3D printing service, you can receive durable, functional drone components and be all set to fly.

We go more in-depth in the processes of SLS 3D printing and MJF 3D printing in our blogs.

To improve the performance and finishing of your drone components with Vapor Sealing Post Processing, will transform your 3D printed parts stronger as the mechanical properties of the material is sealed and smoothen. This makes the 3D printed parts to be both air and water-tight and improve the surface finishing to be as close to an injection moulded quality. This helps improve the aerodynamics force of the drone to cut through air better and increases the speed while flying.

Test Drones with Additive3D Asia Today

Based in Singapore, Additive3D Asia has been serving a variety of high-end clients in the Asia Pacific region since 2014. Backed by an expert team with an in-depth understanding of every aspect of additive manufacturing, we provide comprehensive 3D printing services to Singapore businesses of all shapes and sizes.

3D printing can ultimately produce the next-generation drones and open up a whole new world of possibilities when you think about what you could do with drones – from making custom parts, to designing entire drones from scratch. Get in touch with us for more information today.

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