If you have not been impressed enough by the rapidly expanding 3D printing market, and its ability to transform data on a computer screen into a physical object, then this story may just do it.
Arguably two of the most intriguing technologies of this decade are 3D printers, and drones. One may ask, “Why hasn’t anyone combined the two yet?” Well, a London man named Mirko Kovac, of University College has done just this, in essence creating the world’s first flying 3D printer.
Inspired by the behavior of a bird called a swiflet, which uses its own saliva to construct a nest, Kovac and his team set out on a mission to turn drones into robotic swiflets. The flying machine uses two different chemicals, which when hardened forms polyurethane foam. It sprays the chemical from a printing module connected to its base. This machine was created to spray the foam onto an object which it wishes to have transported, while another drone swoops in and sets itself down on that object, waiting for the foam to harden, The second drone then carries the object away. This would be a great way for drones to retrieve dangerous objects, or objects which are in challenging environments, like a war zone or collapsed building.
The drone could be put to use in various other applications, including being used as an actual 3D printer which hovers above its print. For instance, if a bridge or building needs repair, the flying 3D printer could deposit material where needed, in any shape or orientation that those controlling it choose.
The possible uses of an airborne 3D printer could be quite interesting. It’s the convergence of two transformative technologies like this, which can often lead to incredibly unique approaches to everyday problems. Perhaps we won’t see 3D printers flying around, printing out replacement parts for airplanes in flight any time soon, but this technology could certainly find its own niche. Mirko Kovac will be at the Imperial Festival in London on May 9th and 10th with his drones in hand. Take part in a discussion around the possibilities surrounding flying 3D printers at 3DPB.com. Check out the video below of Kovac’s creation in action:
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Stay up-to-date on all the latest news from the 3D printing industry and receive information and offers from third party vendors.
You May Also Like
BAE Systems Taps AML3D to 3D Print Metal Frigate Prototype
BAE Systems Maritime Australia (BAESMA), a division of the UK’s BAE Systems, has given a contract to Australian metal additive manufacturing (AM) original equipment manufacturer (OEM) AML3D, to produce and...
Reshaping Global Supply Chains: The UK’s First Advanced Manufacturing Plan
The day before the Biden administration announced around 30 broad-sweeping economic actions planned by the White House for 2024 and beyond — all surrounding the establishment of a new Council...
$138M to Support Ursa Major’s 3D Printed Rocket Engines
Earlier this year, TechCrunch revealed that Ursa Major Technologies, the Colorado-based startup specializing in using additive manufacturing (AM) for modular rocket engines, had taken in $100 million in its Series...
$1M to Drive Metal 3D Printing Adoption in ASTRO America Project with GE, Pratt & Whitney, and Honeywell
The Applied Science & Technology Research Organization of America (ASTRO America) has partnered with Pratt & Whitney, Honeywell, and GE on a project intended to ease adoption of metal additive...
Upload your 3D Models and get them printed quickly and efficiently.