Lay3rs – The Ultimaker 2, 3D printer

While it’s not yet possible to fabricate electrical components like motors, sensors or even electronics using 3D printing, it’s entirely possible to 3D print drone parts like the frame, landing gear, and propellers. And these are usually the parts that break easily. Which makes 3D printing the perfect solution for them.

What is the benefit of 3D printed drone parts? If you’re not an experienced RC pilot, crashing and breaking parts of your aerial vehicle can be expensive. Instead of buying new parts, you can 3D print your own spare parts as needed. Thanks to our partner Lay3rs we have the opportunity to use our very own 3D printer. With our own 3D printer to hand, part designs can be easily upgraded and further developed to improve the performance of our drone. On top of that, 3D printed drone parts are quickly interchangeable, and we can do it ourselves. Building our own drone out of 3D printed parts serves as a great opportunity to learn about how it works and how it reacts to modifications we make.

Aside from vital components, there is a huge variety of extra things to add to our drone. We used the 3D printer for example to add more sensors to the system to make it more aware of its environment. When we wanted to test how different sensors compare when mounted on a drone it is easy to use 3D printed mounts in order to quickly interchange the sensor. Thereby more tests can be executed, and a better decision can be made. Even when we are not using the 3D printer for drone parts we use it for other useful tools like for example a business card holder.

One thing which makes our drone unique is the gripper underneath it. Since this is so uncommon there are no off the shelf grippers available on the market which meet the requirements we need. A 3D printer has made it possible for us to design and produce different grippers ourselves which are light enough to be suited for a drone.

We can conclude that a 3D printer is a must have for Blue Jay or any other project with the need to quickly iterate their product.