You can indeed 3D print most of a jet-powered drone which will hit 240km/h. Though… we need to qualify that. You can do the above with ease, provided you’re the combination of 3D-printing company Stratasys and avionics company Aurora Flight Sciences. Or a super-dedicated home user with a whole lot of cash – basically, you’d have to be Batman. And you’ll need the little jet engine too.
The purpose-built UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) below was 80% 3D-printed, by weight, and carries with it a jet engine capable of speed of up to 240km/h. With a 2.7 metre wingspan and 15kg weight it’s not going to be giving DJI’s Phantom any nightmares any time soon. It’s chalk and cheese though, we’ve yet to see a jet-powered drone that emulates a quad-copter’s flight capabilities. This drone flies like a plane. A very small, very fast plane.
The point of this exercise is to show that 3D printing purpose-built drones can be done more quickly and more cheaply than most other production methods. The nature of 3D printing means that it’s possible to design a one-off aircraft and create it without needing full-scale production afterwards in order to recoup costs.
Source: Stratasys (YouTube)