3D printing as a whole has really taken off recently (you name it, it’s being 3D-printed). Take for instance the latest 3D-printed creation to blast off—the world’s first 3D-printed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
This 3D-printed creation actually flies, and it made its debut this week at the Dubai Airshow.
The creation was a collaboration between Aurora Flight Sciences and Stratasys Ltd., and the companies claim this is the world’s fastest, and largest, 3D-printed, jet-powered UAV. The aircraft has a wingspan of 9 feet and weighs only 33 pounds, with the ability to reach speeds of up to 150 mph. That’s pretty impressive considering all the hype last year over the University of Sheffield’s 3D-printed UAV airframe, which only reached speeds up to 45 mph.
Besides the aircraft’s credentials, perhaps the most impressive part of it all is how quickly it took the researchers to develop the UAV.
Today, it can take decades before we see modern fighters go from concept to prototype to production. The UAV, which was actually only 80 percent 3D printed (since the additive manufacturing technology can only do as much for now), took a little more than a month to complete, from the initial integration to assembly and testing. However, the researchers say they could build a second one in two to three weeks from start to finish.
Based on how quickly this UAV went from designing to manufacturing to flying, it’s likely we’ll see more of them in the near future.
For now, this UAV still holds the record for world’s fastest, but maybe not for long. Watch it take flight below, in all its glory.