Wait, We Need a PhD in 3D Printing? Part 2: Flying 3D Printers

Breaking news from Imperial College London and Empa Switzerland that the research of flying 3D printers is featured as the cover of Nature (Volume 609 Issue 7928, 22 September 2022). Instead of sitting statically on the table like most 3d printers, this aerial robotic 3d printer prints structures in-flight, inspired by natural builders like wasps and bees.

The ‘ScanDrones’ work in pairs with the ‘BuildDrones’ enabling the monitoring of the print quality, thanks to a generic real-time model-predictive-control scheme. Flying 3D printers have been proven to have the potential in conducting constructions post-disaster or in places that are difficult to access.  Check out the video produced by the Imperial and Empa researchers below:

Visit the website and original paper below to find out more!

Imperial: https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/239973/3d-printing-drones-work-like-bees/

Nature Paper: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04988-4

Zhang, Ketao, et al. “Aerial additive manufacturing with multiple autonomous robots.” Nature 609.7928 (2022): 709-717.

This post was written by Esperanza Shi as part of an ongoing series of scientific communications written and curated by BioTrib’s Early Stage Researchers.

Esperanza is researching the Optimisation of Scanning Strategies for 3D Printed Artificial Joints at Imperial College London, UK.