Windform 3D printed Tundra-M drone
The case study illustrates the manufacture of an unmanned aerial system using Laser Sintering technology and Windform® composite materials.
The project has involved two companies: CRP Technology and Hexadrone. The aim is the construction of Hexadrone’s first fully modular and easy-to-use drone for industrial and multi-purpose tasks, made for extreme weather conditions thanks to rugged, waterproof design.
The body as well as the main parts have been conceived with the composite polyamide based material carbon filled Windform® SP and Windform® XT 2.0. Those two materials are shaped into pieces using the selective laser sintering 3D printing technology.
The four arms supporting the body frame of the Tundra were 3D printed using Windform® XT 2.0 composite material.
The rest of the components were developed with the Windform® SP composite material.
Windform® family of high performance composite materials was created by CRP Technology, CRP Group’s specialized company in advanced 3D printing and additive manufacturing solutions.
Hexadrone CEO Alexandre Labesse commented, “We have engineered our drone by means of a cautious, multifaceted, and collaborative based approach with the involvement of broad-based stakeholders.
In the course of two years of consulting, research and development we have gathered all the advice and customers’ testimonials useful to its design and which finally helped us in the process of devising an ideal UAV solution”.
Additive Manufacturing technology is often faster than designing and producing a tool for traditional manufacturing technologies. Furthermore, 3D printing has given engineers more flexibility in the timeline to make design improvements and being able to think outside of limitations caused by traditional tooling. This choice made it possible to substantially reduce the costs and has been very convenient in terms of timing when compared to traditional production methods.
“The Windform® selective laser sintering technology – Alexandre Labesse added - allowed us to easily prototype key components of our product, to outcompete the plastic injection molding process in terms of deadlines, cost, and to test our prototype in real life conditions with almost the same mechanical characteristic”.
The tests Hexadrone carried out on the prototype they designed using Windform® reside in:
• The assembly / disassembly tests of the different parts to road test their structure as well as the fatigue resistance of this new materials.
• Landing tests, folding and unfolding the landing foot structure of the Tundra-M drone whose different structures were made in Windform® SP and which support the full weight of the Tundra-M. On top of the weight of the device those small parts also have to handle the stresses due to the folding/unfolding of the landing system.
• Flight tests, to determine whether the mounted parts can handle the different strains encountered throughout the many different flight scenarios.
CRP Group is headquartered in Modena, Italy. The Group is made up of specialized companies (CRP Technology, CRP Service, CRP Meccanica, plus its US-based partner CRP USA) dedicated to providing clients with the very latest technological solutions. With more than 45 years of experience in the world of F1 and more than 20 years of experience in Additive Manufacturing, CRP Group is distinguished by its know-how in specific application fields including but not limited to: automotive and motorsports, design, aerospace, UAVs, marine, entertainment, defense, and packaging.
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