Additive manufacturing embraces a considerable variety of materials and processes suitable for directly creating a wide range of 3D models, prototypes, mock-ups, tooling, end-use parts, assemblies and systems/subsystems. The design freedom enabled by additive manufacturing allows the optimization of form, fit and feature/function integration often not possible by other means. Student designers were challenged to go beyond the classroom or laboratory and showcase their technical and commercial talents by demonstrating new and creative ways additive manufacturing can add value.
This year, the Digital Manufacturing Competition challenged student designers to figure out how to help us get around better. More specifically, contestants were challenged to consider how our inherent human physical mobility and/or performance may be restored, enhanced or given new capabilities whether on land, in/on the sea, in the air or in space. Contestant submissions could address needs in the areas of personal transportation, sporting goods or medical appliances/physical therapy devices — or something unique, entirely new and/or novel.
Sponsored by the Direct Digital Manufacturing Technology Working Group
DDM Competition 2016 Winner
U Mass Lowell
Students: Tito Arana, Jordan Castillo, Michael Gager, Dan Stella, and Joanel Vasquez
Academic Advisor: Stephen Johnston, PhD
Unnamed Aerial Vehicles are designed to perform various task from recreational to industrial use. This design will offer an alternative method to the way bridges are currently being inspected. Utilizing the versatility of UAVs. With the ability to print carbon fiber using the MarkForged series of 3D printers, this design is made possible. The design is based on custom made landing gear and rotor shields 3D printed to extend the deployment time of UAVs. Seeing the potential of 3D printing and UAVs to aid with bridge inspection, this project evaluates a current technology and put to practice as safety and effectiveness as a tool for bridge inspection.
The Inspector Drone is a modification kit for the DJI FlameWheel F550 Hexacopter that will optimize it for use during bridge inspections. Utilizing additive manufacturing and a MarkForged Mark Two printer, we were able to design a set of landing gear which is light-weight but structurally sound due to the material’s high specific strength. The material used by this printer is carbon fiber layered with nylon and has a tensile strength similar to aluminum. The landing gear is to be deployed while the drone is in between steel I-beam girders underneath a bridge deck. This allows for the rotors to be stopped and remove the drain on the battery, increasing the deployment time of the drone. The arms are retractable and powered by a stepper motor. The kit also includes rotor shields made out of ABS to protect the rotors from collision while operating the drone in tight quarters. This material was chosen due to the inexpensive cost, as this part will likely fail often and need to be replaced.