The pace of technology often outdoes our imaginations. We have been hearing about the role of 3D printers in the actual construction of electronics and now, it has been demonstrated in a joint venture of Stratasys and Optomec, both of which are known for their specialist printing techniques. As an initial demo, a drone wing prototype has been created to show how 3D printing and printing electronics can deliver better products when working hand in hand.
A 3D printed electronic wing for drones has been created as a result of this joint venture. Stratasys claims that this is the first ever fully printed hybrid structure. The wing was constructed using Stratasys’ Fused Deposition Modeling process. A conformal sensor, antenna and circuitry build on the wing was printed using an Optomec Aerosol Jet system.
The benefits of printing electronics in this way are many and very significant. For instance, the overall structure of the prototype is a lot lighter with 3D printing whereas the electronic components that have been used are placed on the wing in such a way as to allow for extra payload on the drone. Moreover, this particular process deploys less material, saving manufacturing costs, and is environment-friendly at the same time.
Whereas for now, Optomec and Stratasys are exploring the usage of this technology within the sphere of military equipment, Optomec is of the view that it could prove very instrumental in a number of other fields too.