I’ve started designing and 3D Printing UAV fuselages for a friend that’s starting out in the hobby. He uses the “Bixler” type frames with some horizon sensors to get started. As we all know, there seems to be a greater number of tall obstacles as we start flying and it’s been no different for him.
Having crashed several of his foam and foam covered planes, he asked for help. I’ve now designed about 5 fuselages of different sizes and different shapes, all based on the “Bixler” style he requested. These are 3D Printed as shown but in 3D Printing Nylon. They’re printed hollow and 3-4 perimeters. Due to being printed in a circular pattern, he is extremely pleased with the axial stability of the completed fuselage. Very little twist in 3 – 4 perimeter components. He is also very pleased that even with several rough landings and a telephone pole or two, he’s reported no damage at all due to nylon’s pliability and strength.
Below are the three sections of an early design. Slightly smaller than a standard frame as he’s building up to go for more electronics with experience. The sections are printed hollow with 3-4 perimeters and only 4-5 solid layers. The first solid layers help secure the build to the blank PCB boards on the main X/Y table. Print time is about 90 min per section. To hold one section to the next, there are about 20 small holes burned into the small overlapping seam with the tip of a soldering iron, making the finished part, almost one complete unit as nothing bonds to nylon, like more melted nylon. He also uses the iron to cut out openings for wing spars and battery compartment.
Because he wants too eventually 3D Print his own designs, he’s looking at getting one of the newer 3D Printers. One that he can scale up the “Z” axis. He’s mentioned a “BukoBot” or an “Ultimaker” as they seem to have good vertical capability.
As for 3D Printing in 618 3D Printing Nylon, there are several advantages.
When correctly printed, there is almost no delamination with nylon
Nylon is much lighter than ABS/PLA
Parts 3D Printed with Nylon at 5 plus perimeters are almost as strong as injection molding.
Nylon is very pliable depending on layers and perimeters. Therefore, it can take crashes that most other plastics won’t survive.
It’s easily connected together by melting with a soldering iron.
The surface is very slippery.
It’s chemical resistance means that even hi octane fuel spills won’t eat into, melt, destroy or even discolor the 3D Printed components.
And best of all, it cost no more than ABS or PLA.
You can get 618 3D Printing Nylon at www.taulman3d.com
618 3D Printing Nylon is now registered on the main RepRap Materials Wiki along with the
3D Printing resources web site http://www.3ders.org/pricecompare
I’ll upload the .stl files to the thingiverse site so look there in a day or so.
My UAV flying friend now has several more flights under his belt and very pleased with the new fuselages.
The good news is that his current fuselages only have grass stains and some telephone pole tar on the nose and sides.
The bad news is he’s out of wings....!