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Thread: First ever 3D airplane printed

  1. #1
    virgin by request ;) HunkyLuke's Avatar
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    First ever 3D airplane printed

    A team from the University of Southampton has used a 3d printer to successfully "print" the first ever fully functional plane.

    3D printing has come on in leaps and bounds since its origins as an expensive prototyping tool over two decades ago. It uses laser-assisted machines to fabricate plastic or metal objects, building up the item layer by layer, each slice just 100 micrometres thick.

    To do this, the 3D printer first slices up an object's computerised design into hundreds of easily printable layers. Each layer is then "printed" by training a laser beam on a bed of polyamide plastic, stainless steel or titanium powder – depending on the object being created – tracing out the entire 2D shape required for that layer. The laser's heat fuses the particles together at their boundaries. Once each layer is complete, more powder is scattered over it and the process repeated until a complete artefact is produced.
    check out the video clip and the full article at http://www.newscientist.com/article/...ne.html?page=1
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    Autonomous model planes and helicopters are commonplace now — everything from handheld units to full-sized warplanes. Many of the smaller systems use off-the-shelf model aircraft, like the Kadet Senior, and add specialized on-board autopilot circuitry to the plane’s standard radio controls so the aircraft can fly itself through a variety of patterns or programs.

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    These autopilot systems are still expensive, running into the $10,000 range for high-end units with the level of reliability needed by MITRE. Moreover, the planes aren’t truly autonomous. Much of the computation is performed by a dedicated ground station — another $20,000 — that communicates with the on-board autopilot computer over Wi-Fi.

    For the MITRE scientists, that was unacceptable. Last fall, as an extension of their ground-based Android robotics research (which employs, in part, eight university interns), Balazs and Rotner decided to set up an airborne program to test the use of low-cost, readily available smartphones for piloting. They started with a Galaxy Nexus, programming it as an on-board replacement for the ground station.


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    Please don't dig up 6 year old posts in order to establish post counts to this forum ... or you will find yourself quickly deleted.

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