Dec.29, 2012

James Bridle recently made a drone recognition kit, the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) Identification Kit 001 while he spent four weeks as Artist in Residence at the Visible Futures Lab at the School of Visual Arts in New York.

This kit consists of three models of contemporary military drones: the MQ-1 Predator, the RQ-170 Sentinel, and the RQ-4 Global Hawk. Human figures are included for scale. It is based on military and civilian recognition kits: collections of models used to train gunners, radar operators and visual observers.

These UAVs are still commonly used worldwide for providing situational awareness in conflict zones, or in domestic use, including border patrol, forest fire and storm observation, and humanitarian relief.

Bridle downloaded the first two models - basic Predator and Global Hawk models from Solidworks shared by Digital Fabrication Specialist Carlos Cruz. Bridle modified the models using 3D modelling software and then printed them out at a 90:1 scale with lab's uPrint SE 3D printers.

It took him around four hours to 3D print the two models overnight, and then another four hours to remove the support material in a sodium hydroxide bath.

(Images credit: James Bridle)

Though the Predator was unfortunately damaged after being trapped in the solution box, Bridle was pretty satisfied with the result. This Kit is a continuation of a range of projects Bridle is working on, which includes making evident the processes of technological production, as well as the more explicit Drone Shadows and Dronestagram. For Bridle this is a brand new experience, he notes that "I became really interested in the process of 3D printing, which I hadn't seen in this more industrialized form up close before."

More pictures of the kit and the process are available at



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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