A MakerBot 3D printer helped realise the vision of one entrepreneur in developing Teal, the world’s fastest production drone.
Teal is a fully-modular drone which can reach blistering speeds of over 70 miles per hour. It is currently billed as the world’s fastest production drone. But more importantly, 3D printing played a part in its development and production.
The founder and CEO of Teal, George Matus Jr., dreamt of creating a drone that’s functional, powerful and, most importantly, incredibly fast. To achieve this he turned to Gossamer, a Dallas-based firm which develops new products for startups and entrepreneurs.
Chris Hsiao, Founder and Principal at Gossamer, was happy to help Matus out. But the prototyping process posed some challenges. Hsiao explained:
“If we were going to make parts for a drone, we have the option of drafting them up in Solidworks. But we needed to actually get a feel for the parts in our hands because the shapes are so organic. Making the parts out of sheet metal or machining would’ve also been too costly.”
3D printing came as an obvious solution, and Hsiao bought a Makerbot to speed up production from weeks to hours, keeping the drone on deadline.
Watch the video below to hear why Matus was inspired to create Teal.
Teal’s Colorful Production Process
To ensure Teal was fully-modular and easy to use, Hsiao’s team began by creating an engineering draft. Each draft was then 3D printed. This gave the team a chance to see how the drone would work.
Whenever they were happy with a print, it would be sent to Matus. He would review the draft file, give feedback, and the next iteration would begin.
3D printing helped the Gossamer team complete difficult engineering tasks quickly and easily. Hsiao explained: “The Teal’s body required us to build some complex shapes and fine details into our designs. We needed to create smaller parts that snap together well, while facilitating the ideal arrangement of motors and electronic components.”
The Gossamer team 3D printed Teal prototypes by creating the center frame, battery cover, bottom battery case, upper shroud and bottom shroud. The 3D printed arms were paired with the market-leading choice of Lumenier Propellers.
After just a few months of iterating, the Teal prototype was finalized and handed over to Matus for manufacturing.
The final design is set for release in early 2017. The design features a built-in camera and is fully-modular. This means whenever you have a crash, it’s easy to replace the broken parts without affecting the overall design.
Fancy getting your hands on Teal? Head to the website where you can reserve a ready-to-fly drone for $1,319.
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