The drones are being developed under a project by the Telangana state to deliver essential items like medicines
T-Works, India’s largest prototyping centre in Hyderabad, showcased 3D printed UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) at the recently concluded Wings India 2020 event. The four 3D printed UAVs were printed and assembled in-house by a three-member team of T-Works and was fully funded by the government.
The UAV division was set up just four months ago to incorporate 3D printing to make drones affordably with better capabilities and the development of four UAVs shows the success of the project.
3D Printed UAVs
The UAVs are completely designed and 3D printed at T-Works, the 1.5-kg UAV is built, bit by bit, using a number of 3D printed parts made of PLA (polylactic acid), ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) and HIPS (high impact polystyrene).
All the four UAVs are vertical lifting-landing products i.e., they take off vertically, transition into a forward flight and then land down vertically.
One of the UAV is a broad liner that flies really fast and was made just to test the limits of 3D printing. Another is a heavy lift aircraft which can carry three kilograms in payload and has temperature control box and the last product is an endurance glider which can fly up to 60 minutes and has been developed to be used in surveillance.
Commenting about the 3D printed UAVs, said Sujai Karampuri, Chief Executive Officer of T-Works said, “It can fly at up to 200 km/hr. We will analyse the data generated by the test flight.”
He added, “Rapid prototyping (3D Printing) will help reduce the drudgery in making the UAVs and drones, allowing people to experiment with more innovative designs.”
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Elaborating on the plans ahead, Sahevaan Taneja, UAV and Prototype Engineer at T-Works said, “We have spent about 48 hours, 25 hours, 140 hours and 60 hours on the first, second, third and fourth products respectively. These have been developed in order to test if 3D printed UAVs can be scaled up and spot what kinds of improvements are needed. For example, the heavy lift aircraft can be altered so as to increase the payload capacity according to the clients’ requirements. We are in the process of making those changes and coming up with our second prototype.”
The UAV division of T-Works is now looking at developing the heavy lift aircraft for a government scheme in which the State plans to deliver medicines via drones. It is also confident of building a mission focused aircraft as and when a customer approaches them.
In a related news from February last year, Poeir Jets, an R&D subsidiary of Intech DMLS, one of India’s largest service providers of metal 3D printing unveiled the country’s first Heavy lift Hybrid drones at Aero India 2019.
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