There are several universal philosophies that most of humanity seems to agree upon. Those philosophies span generational and cultural divides: love thy neighbor, don’t be a jerk, and if it moves, you can race it. That last one may not be found in any religious or philosophical texts, but think about it. Forms of transportation have evolved over centuries, but each time humans develop a new mode of conveyance, it won’t be long before we decide to race those modes of conveyance against each other. Chariots? Let’s race them! Horses? Let’s race those, too! Cars? You get the idea – even when our only method of getting from one place to another was via our own legs, we were already having footraces.
That could be an interesting sociological study, in fact. What’s our deal with racing? We’re naturally competitive, and we like going fast or watching things go fast? Regardless of what’s behind it, you can be sure that when a new technology that moves and is controlled by humans comes out, it won’t be long before we start having races with it. When drones were first introduced, they were used for military and/or surveillance purposes; it’s only recently that they’ve gotten into the hands of civilians. Unsurprisingly, one of the first things we civilians did was to have drone races.
We’re pretty serious about our drone races, too. Leagues have been formed, and a lot of time and energy have been devoted to creating the fastest, coolest drones to leave all other drones in the dust. Like the Arrow Drone, for example. Developed by a team of German engineers who love Star Wars and gaming, the Arrow Drone is an FPV racing drone currently raising money through Kickstarter.
“We developed the first user friendly racing drones that put piloting into the first place – the Arrow Drones,” Josua Benner of Arrow Drone told 3DPrint.com. “FFF 3D printing, hightech materials and bionic structures helped us to optimize the performance of the Arrow Drone. We will be one of the first companies to use the benefits of 3d printing for series production.”
The Arrow Drone is designed to be especially user-friendly, a sort of entry-level drone. It’s also a high-performance machine created to appeal to professional drone pilots. Created using a combination of 3D printing and plastic molding, the Arrow can be easily customized with different colors and icons. It can flip, dodge objects, fly in reverse, and comes with a free video flight school. There are two versions of the drone: the Arrow 200, which is optimized for maneuverability and can reach speeds of 80 km per hour, and the Arrow 270, which is optimized for speed and can get up to 150 km per hour. The 270 can also be upgraded to be a moviemaking drone with the addition of a gimbal and a GPS upgrade. It includes a GoPro 3/4 fixture, though you’ll have to purchase your own GoPro camera.
The drones were printed using a BigRep ONE FFF printer, and supporters of the campaign have several options for rewards. Experienced pilots who already have their own RC equipment can get a frame only, without goggles, RC controllers or chargers. A pledge of €455 ($496) gets you a 200 frame; €760 ($828) will get you a 270 frame. Complete sets are given to supporters who pledge at least €595 (for the 200) or €895 (for the 270). Contributions in excess of €2,000 will be rewarded with sets of four drones, so you can put a whole racing team together. Arrow Drone also offers a free flight training school so users can acclimate to piloting their small craft.
Arrow Drone is trying to raise €10,000 ($10,893) by March 5. According to the creators, drone racing is about to become the next wildly popular extreme sports phenomenon:
“There will be some amazing drone racing events next year,” the team promises. “We would like to meet you there and see teams competing with the Arrow Drone on a high level.”
Are you interested in drone racing? Discuss in the 3D Printed Arrow Drone Racers forum over at 3DPB.com.