Spherical Flying Machine Inspired by Sci-Fi is Created With 3D Printing

Share this Article

990

A group of 3D printing, high-tech flying machine enthusiasts, and sci-fi fans combined their know-how to design and construct a spherical drone-style aircraft for a local flying machine design competition. One of the major requirements of the competition was to create and construct a flying machine that could be regarded as “unconventional.” They shared their process, supplies, material list, and .stl files on Instructables this week.

A Kino from Stargate Universe.

A Kino from Stargate Universe.

As the design team are self-professed “hardcore fans of many science fiction shows,” they drew their inspiration from a few sci-fi sources they were especially enthusiastic about: The mapping drones in Prometheus, the flying camera balls known as “Kinos” in Stargate Universe, and the IT-O Interrogator droids in Star Wars. While their sources weren’t limited to these three, they did inspire the spherical shape of the final design.

With the shape of their Spherical Flying Machine established, the team moved on, researching the latest technology in spherical flying drones. The examples they liked best were the spherical flight vehicle used by Japan’s Ministry of Defense and the Gimball, known of as the “world’s first collision-proof drone designed by the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne’s (EPFL) Laboratory of Intelligent Systems (LIS).  They also researched a variety of different coaxial counter rotating rotor remote control toys with a sphere as a cage on the outsides. The team felt that the latter were problematic where airflow issues were concerned, so they set about trying to eliminate that problem:

We decided to go the way of a coaxial counter rotating rotors set-up for our propulsion. This set-up allows us to control the yaw of the aircraft by adjusting the differential rotation speed of the propellers.FOP2FA6IADRE91K.LARGE

For the air intake, they designed a shrouded propeller system. At the bottom of the air intake, they explained, the airflow is split into four output ducts that direct the flow to the side of the sphere. For the propulsion system, they came up with a pretty ingenious approach: The propulsion system is mounted inside of a spherical cage beneath which is mounted an x-y translation stage intended to support the batteries–the heaviest component of the drone. What that means in terms of flight efficiency is that the center of gravity (of the battery) is shifted in one direction. When the aircraft’s center of gravity is altered, the whole aircraft will reorient and direct the thrust in the opposite direction. This is the kind of steering you would see, for instance, with hang gliders and small, one-man helicopters.

 

Many of the components of the Spherical Flying Machine were 3D printed using ABS, including the air intake duct, the airflow separator, and the output ducts. Other parts were produced from paper laminated foam using laser cutting, although the team was less-than-satisfied with the results, which weren’t as precise as they’d hoped. They used a variety of methods for assembling the parts, from screws and nuts to a cable that runs along the equator of the sphere.

See their Instructables page for the end result as well as a materials and supplies list and the .stl files, which you can print at home with your own 3D printer or upload to an online service like 3D Hubs. We would love to see a video of the Spherical Flying Machine in action and to find out whether it was the winning submission!

 

Share this Article


Recent News

What is Metrology Part 19 – Moire Effect in 3D Printing

3D Printing and ABS Recycling: Assessing Virgin and Re-used Filament



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Tunisia: Researchers 3D Print Optimized Car Leaf Spring out of Carbon PEEK

Authors Amir Kessentini, Gulam Mohammed Sayeed Ahmed, and Jamel Madiouli have performed research and analysis after 3D printing a car part, with their findings outlined and recently published in ‘Design...

Interview with Massimo Bricchi of Kuraray on 3D Printing Biodegradable Materials

Massimo Bricchi Massimo Bricchi is Kuraray Europe‘s Regional Marketing Manager. The company is involved in the production of chemicals and resins, fibers and textiles, high-performance material, and medical products. In...

Robot Factory Introduces Sliding-3D Conveyor Belt System for High-Temperature 3D Printing

Over the last several years, 3D printers that use conveyor belts as limitless build platforms have been growing more popular. In 2017, Italian company Robot Factory launched its own FFF...

Mimaki USA and Sindoh Introduce New 3DFF-222 Desktop 3D Printer

In 2015, Mimaki USA, an operating entity of Japanese company Mimaki Engineering, announced that it would begin development of its own full color 3D printer, which was then previewed two years later. The company...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.


Print Services

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our 3DPrint.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!