3D-Printed Drone Shells

Company: HP Labs (2019)
Team: Jiwon Jun (HP), Tico Ballagas (HP), Matěj Karásek (TU Delft), Rick Ruijsink (TU Delft)
My Role: 3D design & modeling, managing a production of 3D-printed parts

Photo credit: Flapper Drones

The Flapper Drones are bio-inspired flying robots invented by TU Delft Aerospace Engineering team in the Netherlands. They fly by flapping their wings like birds and insects, and they are being developed for entertainment purposes. We collaborated with the TU Delft team to apply HP’s Jet Fusion 3D-printing technology to make the robots more expressive and robust. 

The main challenges were making the shell as light as possible and incorporating an anchoring mechanism to the structure. I designed the shells inspired by a hummingbird and the resultant outcome weighs less than 10 grams in total, including both the head and body parts. Using perforated patterns and extremely thin structures, it was possible to reduce the weight and keep the drone light enough for flying. Living hinges were applied on the sides as the anchoring mechanism, so that the shells can be easily installed and removed from the drone body.

3D models of the shells.
It’s designed to be perforated and extremely thin for weight reduction.

MJF printed outcomes.

Shells installed on the drones.