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TWorks test-flies 3D Printed UAV

Hyderabad: TWorks test-flew a fully 3D printed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) today 50km from Hyderabad. The UAV features a myriad of 3D printed parts from materials such as PLA (Polylactic Acid) , ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene).

The aircraft weighed 1.5 kg with an estimated top speed of 200 kmph and was designed, 3D printed and assembled in-house at TWorks.

The test results will be used to analyze the structural and aerodynamic properties for future applications of 3D printed UAVs. The series of experiments by TWorks will serve as a testbed for new autonomous technologies and the potential of 3D printing applications in the aerospace industry.

Sujai Karampuri, CEO TWorks, explains, “3D printing allows low-risk and fast track prototyping. There were days when people would spend 400-500 hours shaping every single part of a model aircraft with balsa wood and plywood.

Today prototyping has become so easy wherein we only need to design on computers and 3D printers will bring our creations to reality.” Rapid prototyping (3D Printing) will reduce the drudgery in making the aircraft, allowing people to experiment with more innovative designs.

This aircraft took 100 hours to design and 3D print, after which the parts were slot fitted and assembled without the need for nuts, bolts or screws. The team experimented with different internal ‘infill’ structures and found a honeycomb-like structure to be the most effective and lightweight for the purpose of structural strengthening for thin-walled structures.

The team also developed a custom lithium polymer battery pack and found innovative ways to use microcontrollers for serial communication which significantly reduced cost and complexity.

Sujai further added, “We aim to create a culture of hands-on makers and innovators in India by lowering the cost and complexity barriers for design and development.”

An initiative of the Telangana State Government, TWorks will have state of the art prototyping equipment run by a dedicated team of some of the best design, engineering and fabrication talent in India.

He said TWorks, which is currently under construction, shall commence operations in 5 months.

TWorks is also set to host its first advanced aeromodelling workshop in December where participants will design, build and fly their own UAVs. Participants can register through the TWorks website – tworks.telangana.gov.in. (INN)

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