Stratasys Blog

Dream the Impossible Drone (and 3D Print It)

Fused Deposition Modeling Technology used to make remotely piloted Leptron helicoptorThe RDASS 4 is a remotely piloted, 3D printed helicopter from Leptron. The little five-pound drone contains modular, nesting layers. Depending on purpose, these clever interchangeable layers stack inside the fuselage to provide tailored functionality. Applications include flying ahead of armored vehicles to see over the horizon.

Leptron had to develop eight layer variations, crash-test the prototypes, and create end-use parts on a competitive timeline. This would have been prohibitively expensive with old-school manufacturing methods. Plus, long lead times would have restricted designers in how many revisions they could make.

Instead, Leptron made Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) prototypes and end-use parts on its Dimension 3D Printer. It completed the project at a 60-percent cost savings and 43 percent faster versus tooling and molding.

“Every single part has changed a minimum of four times. FDM gave us the flexibility to make these changes,” said John Oakley, Leptron CEO. “It would not have been possible for a company of our size to design and build this product using conventional manufacturing.”

Read the whole story of the RDASS 4.

Ruth Jacques

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