May 8-11, 2017 | David L. Lawrence Convention Center | Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania | Exhibits May 9-11

Direct Digital Manufacturing of Flight Hardware for Unmanned Aircraft Systems


Intermediate May 9, 2017 10:45 am - 11:10 am

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Shayne A. Kondor, Professional Advisor, Georgia Tech Research Institute
Warren Lee, Research Engineer II, Georgia Tech Research Institute

The Robotics and Autonomous Systems Division of the Georgia Tech Research Institute’s ATAS Lab has adopted a direct digital manufacturing philosophy for equipping its fleet of unmanned aircraft. The direct digital design-to-print philosophy employed by the division will be discussed in the context of equipping, maintaining and operating a fleet of unmanned aircraft under FAA Certificate of Authorization. Several case studies will be examined to describe how the lab’s direct digital manufacturing philosophy has evolved while supporting its UAV fleet operations, including: short run additive manufacturing of avionics integration modules for a fleet of 30+ swarming UAVs, rapid integration of payloads to multi-rotor drones, and direct printing of external payload pods for a medium endurance 500 lb. fixed wing UAV. The durability of the 3D printed hardware will be discussed, as well as design lessons learned from extensive flight test operation. Finally, the issue of FAA flight certification of 3D printed flight hardware will be .addressed.