UAVs Manufactured On the Fly with FDM

UAV Solutions Inc. in Jessup, Maryland, specializes in UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) and UAV control systems. According to company CEO Bill Davidson, when the company bought their first Stratasys Dimension 1200es 3D Printer, they thought that it was an impressive technology – but they didn’t really understand all that it could do.  While they originally figured they would use it to produce little prototypes or giveaways for their customers, FDM-based (Fused Deposition Modeling) 3D printing has now “crept” into every aspect of their manufacturing process which is today driven by multiple Fortus 400 Production Systems.

Bill Davidson, CEO of UAV Solutions, displaying an FDM-manufactured airplane

Bill Davidson, CEO of UAV Solutions, displaying an FDM-manufactured airplane

In particular, they found that the ULTEM™ 9085 resin material is particularly well-suited to aviation applications. A flame retardant high performance material, ULTEM exhibits a high strength-to-weight ratio and FST (flame, smoke, and toxicity) rating which make it an excellent choice for the commercial transportation industry – especially aerospace, marine and ground vehicles.

The FDM-based manufacturing process allows UAV Solutions to very rapidly make changes to the avionic structures, thereby enabling them to meet the high performance and precise demands of their customers.  In fact, Davidson states that using the ULTEM 9085 allows them to manufacture components that could not be made with standard milling procedures.

The video below includes a flight demonstration of a UAV that was manufactured using Stratasys Fortus 400 Production Systems. Typical applications of this vehicle include use by police departments, fire departments, and other emergency first responders, as well as military applications.

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