Saturday, March 1, 2014
Remote-Controlled 3-D Printed Aircrafts, Vehicles
Virginia Tech’s Design, Research, and Education for Additive Manufacturing Systems Lab Students, no matter their course of study, will have the opportunity to test their skills at building an operational, remotely piloted ground or air vehicle created via 3-D printing.
According to the university, hopes are that these students' work "will allow future deployed military or civilian engineers to fabricate remotely-piloted vehicles while in battlefield or austere environmental conditions, such as the site of a natural disaster to search for survivors or carry out reconnaissance missions."
Participants will be tasked with paving the way for a strong future partnership between additive manufacturing and robotic systems. Reason being that civilian and military organizations plan to design shipping containers that have several 3-D printers. The printers could be used by engineers to easily download and print replacement parts or to create mission-specific parts on-demand. This way military personnel will not need to wait for relief by rescue workers, they'll be able to make what they require in the field via 3-D printing.
Students will be judged on their vehicle's ability to navigate the course – time to finish the mission and number of obstacles cleared – their effective use of additive manufacturing, the amount of time it took to print and assemble, as well as the number of 3-D printed parts that make up the structure of their product.
Additive manufacturing is a potential game-changing manufacturing technology for military platforms.