Some time ago I started a post with some ideas about making a UAV using rapid prototyping to construct the wings and fuselage......I suppose my initial idea came from a thought that it would be great to create an airframe that has been designed from the outset as a UAV and with my experience of RP I know how simple it is to make complicated thin wall shapes with these machines. Currently you either have to make a UAV like from an RC kit or go down the route of using expensive composites with all the attendant tooling and production costs. I wondered if it was possible to design something that could be printed off from an RP machine have a minimum ammount of prep work done to it and then asembled and flown......
Is the future of commercial UAVs acceptance going to be limited by the current construction methods? if you can print off a UAV like you do a sales brochure the problems of crashing and damaging airframes becomes less of an issue, got a hazardous mission? send in the UAV, if it never comes back we can just print another......Henry Ford said " If I asked my customers what they wanted they would of asked for a faster horse!"
I have attached a pic of one of my concepts that shows an idea of what I am attempting to do. The idea is to print off the wing and then stiffen it up with a bonded on carbon fibre spar. The CAD concept shown is 33" long, 7.75" wide it is made from 1mm thick polycarbonate and weighs 500grams can anyone tell me how far off being an acceptable weight this is? The carbon fibre spar would fit into a carbon fibre box section bonded into the fuselage. The fuselage would be made using the same process as the wing.
My next job is to try and optimise the concept using cosmos to see if it can sustain +/- 6G with carbon spar fitted in the wing and to see if I can loose some weight anywhere. Let me know what you think!