We have developed and successfully flight-tested a first IAE unmanned aircraft completely printed on a 3D printer. The inner structure of the design was created by Martin Sladky as part of his bachelor’s thesis. Martin won an Industrial Partner Award 2019 with his work. Remote control of the aircraft was performed by Tomáš Hájek and the platform was launched by Petr Dvořák, supervisor of Martin’s thesis. The aircraft is a result of cooperation with 3DlabPrint company – the creator of many 3D-printed warbird designs.
Compared to a composite version of the VUT714 unmanned platform, the FDM version proves to be 7% heavier, however the inner structure offers potential for weight optimization. Therefore, the authors believe that the weight can be reduced, possibly making the aircraft even lighter than the traditional composite version. The main advantage of the new aircraft version is a significantly reduced manual effort needed to assemble the platform. Furthermore, additive manufacturing technology enables very straightforward implementation of design changes avoiding the need for costly mould modification.
The platform has been optimized for unmanned mapping and the authors foresee to release a fine-tuned version of the aircraft within several months.