Drone Swarms: Exploring 3D Printing Possibilities

What is 3D printing with a Drone Swarm
A swarming drones will deposit material on the surface to print large complex structures. This is a little like a wasp swarm building a nest in any little corner they find, but from the air.

Nature has a lot to teach us, even in the most technical of disciplines like engineering. The endless trials and experiments of life have led to some of our most elegant solutions. A large group of researchers were inspired by the nest-building abilities of the wasp. Mounting an extruder on a drone was the idea to explore 3D-printing of structures without being restricted by a frame machine.

The drones’ tendency to drift is one of the biggest problems with this approach. The team decided to mount the effector on a delta bot carrier that hangs from the bottom. This allowed it to compensate its measured movements and cancel the majority of positional errors.

Two types of drones are used in the printing process. The first drone acts as a scanner and measures the surface of the printing, including any previous printing. The second drone approaches, lays down one layer and then they switch places.

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3D Printing With a Drone Swarm?