Jet powered 3D printed drone flies at Dubai Airshow

What is claimed to be the largest, fastest and most complex 3D printed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has been unveiled at the Dubai Airshow.

CNBC and others report that the claimed world-first jet powered UAV – which can reach speeds of 150 miles per hour – contained over 80 per cent 3D printed structures, weighed 15 kilograms, had a wingspan of 3 metres, and was created in collaboration between Stratasys and the USA’s Aurora Flight Sciences.

According to a joint statement from the two companies, a variety of different materials and techniques were used to make the drone, including fused deposition modelling (Stratasys’s flagship 3D printing method) for the large, structural parts, a nylon sintered fuel tank, and a metal 3D printed exhaust.

Other previous aerospace applications by Stratasys include partnerships with Airbus to build an A350XWB including over 1000 Ultem parts and ducting for United Launch Alliance’s Atlas rocket.

“Because Stratasys is able to produce parts that meet the flame, smoke, and toxicity requirements set by the FAA, ULTEM has become the 3D printing material of choice for many of our aerospace customers for final production applications,” said the company’s Aerospace & Defense Senior Business Development Manager Scott Sevcik.