Using "generative design" to design a quadcopter frame the way nature would

Autodesk Research is doing work on "generative design", which creates shapes the way nature would. The software is given some simple constraints -- some physical attachment points and strength/weight targets -- and then it "evolves" a shape that is nothing like the one a human would design. See this article for more: 

Structures built in generative design “tend to have a highly complex, sometimes organic shape,” Erin Bradner, a research scientist from Autodesk Research, says. That’s because generative design uses algorithms to calculate the best design for a product based on both the functionality the designer wants, and the environmental constraints and forces acting on the object. With fewer straight lines and planes than traditional computer modeling, the process “is more akin to something like bone growth,” Bradner says.

Here are some photos of the 3D print in real life. It's incredibly strong!

Views: 3472

Comment by Gary McCray on October 11, 2015 at 9:24pm


I saw this on the news, but availalbility and cost are not yet clear,

However, Fusion 360 is another matter.

A full featured full enterprise level 3D CAD, CAM and 3D printing package available form AutoDesk for - - FREE!

Yes, absolutely free for non-commercial use.

Way better than Sketchup, Rhino or even Solidworks (well they might not think so, but I think they will be proved wrong).

And even if you actually want to make money with it - $300.00 a year subscription a tiny fraction of any other decent package out there.

You need this: - -

I don't know what Autodesk is thinking these days, but this is the best thing to come from them in a long time, it's 3D construction facilities are really great. and the CAM/CNC package is full 3D and fully customizeable.

If you want to do real 3D CNC you can't even approach this level of capability under $20,000.00.

Best Regards,


(I get no kickback of anykind from AutoDesk although 30 years ago I was an Autodesk developer for a few years, just nice to see them doing something this cool, that we can really use.)



Comment by Jethro Hazelhurst on October 12, 2015 at 12:00am

Now we just need a honeycomb lattice structure 3d printed out of titanium that mimics avian bones to really set it off.

Comment by benbojangles on October 12, 2015 at 7:49am

Autodesk Within. Any idea what the pricing will be? I have been experimenting with different infill densities & infill styles (honeycomb, rectilinear etc) with my fdm printer, and it's really beneficial to achieve lower weight parts but with similar rigidity (Based on hand bend test - not very scientific). It looks like Within will perform much more accurately. I like the idea of generative design, but i'm also not sure how it's going to work with fdm printers. Seems it's more suited to powder or sintering 3d printers. One way to find out is to let us all have a trial use with the software :) 

Comment by Teemu Launis on October 12, 2015 at 12:35pm
I use Onshape for my quad designs. It has also free version but best functionality is to engineering in web browser and share designs to phone and iPad.

Comment by Ted Van Slyck on October 13, 2015 at 8:39am
Not quite a dead ringer, but similar to the Parrot Beepop helicopter...the arms are a great idea to save weight.
Comment by Daniel Domit on May 1, 2019 at 5:58pm

Can you please share the file for the 3d printer?? Thanks!


You need to be a member of DIY Drones to add comments!

Join DIY Drones

© 2019   Created by Chris Anderson.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service