The US Marines Just Created a 3D Printed Drone – Which Cost …

Image: Autodesk

Drone manufacturing might have been revolutionized this week.  Design software program and providers firm Autodesk and the US Marine Corps (USMC) have introduced a profitable challenge to create new navy drones utilizing 3D printing expertise.

The new drone, nicknamed “Scout,” is a small fastened-wing surveillance drone.  It can snap aside into 4 or 5 elements and be carried in a discipline pack.  It takes lower than three minutes to assemble and it weighs little or no.

The drone is designed to switch the  at the moment used small fastened-wing surveillance drones – that value over $30,000 every to construct and over $100,000 to function.  The excessive value limits the widespread use of the drones within the discipline.  But the price of the brand new, 3D-printable drone?

$613 per unit.

The Scout is the results of an modern challenge between the Marines and CA-primarily based Autodesk.  It’s the brainchild of 26-year outdated Marine Rhet McNeal, a graduate of Georgia Tech with a diploma in Aerospace Engineering.  McNeal’s proposal for “Adaptable and Affordable” drones was the winner of the Marine’s Logistics Innovation Challenge.

McNeal began work on the drone at Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory (ARL), however utilized for – and gained – a four month residency at Autdesk’s San Francisco Pier 9 Technology Center, a 27,000 sq. foot workshop outfitted with 3D printers, CNC machines, woodshop, steel store, and software program and specialists from each discipline.  McNeal started his residency in January of 2017 and was capable of efficiently end his design plans by the tip of his residency.

“Pier 9 is this great community to test ideas, for example, ‘this is the problem I’m having… it’s not really so much a problem, but something I think could be made better,’” stated McNeal in an Autodesk interview. “There is no way on earth the Scout would be as good as it is today if not for the great people and equipment I was able to work with on a daily basis at Pier 9.”

McNeal is now again on base in Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina – and the design for the Scout has been handed off to The MITRE Corporation, for testing and certification.  Successful testing may result in bigger scale manufacturing of the Scout.

If the Scout is efficiently manufactured on a massive scale it could affect drone manufacturing and use not simply within the navy, however in the whole business.


Miriam McNabb is the CEO of JobForDrones, a skilled drone providers market, and a fascinated observer of the rising drone business and the regulatory setting for drones. She writes for DRONELIFE on present information, monetary developments, and FAA laws. Miriam has a diploma from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of expertise in excessive tech gross sales and advertising and marketing for brand new applied sciences.
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