June 26, 2014

For extreme sports enthusiasts, the new AirDog from Latvia-based Helico Aerospace Industriesis is a perfect tool for their outdoor activities. Start-up company, Helico, has introduced AirDog, the world's first automated drone designed to track and video outdoor sports and activities, on Kickstarter looking to raise $200,000 for the production.

Aimed primarily at the consumer market, AirDog is an innovative, yet simple-to-use, 'quad-copter' that operates via a wrist-worn tracking device and accommodates a standard GoPro sports camera. Users can automatically capture exciting live aerial video footage and still photography of themselves, having set distance, speed and height levels for AirDog to follow. Helico is specifically targeting the outdoor 'extreme' sports market and expects AirDog to be of particular interest to recreational participants of freestyle BMX, motocross and skateboarding, as well as water-sports such as surfing, kite-surfing and wake-boarding.

Until now, the startup has raised over $443,000 from Kickstarter, and the most impressive part is, the working prototype of AirDog was produced with 3D printing technology.

The Power of 3D printing

Prior to investigating the use of 3D printed parts, the company was trying silicon-molded designs through a supplier in China, explains Edgars Rozentals, Co-founder and CEO of the Helico Aerospace Industries. However, not only did this entail a two-week turnaround time, but the resulting models proved to be too heavy for take-off and were ultimately scrapped.

"The benefits delivered by 3D printing compared to the method we trialled originally are numerous", says Rozentals. "Above all, turnaround time is significantly reduced and if we need to make last minute changes to a design, we can do so within a matter of hours, easily and cost-effectively. This was simply unachievable before as it necessitated time-consuming production of a costly new mold.

"In fact, I'm not sure how we would have arrived at the stage of having a functional part, were it not for Stratasys 3D printing technology. I founded the company two years ago and we're a staff of three, so for start-ups like Helico, this technology isn't just a game-changer, but the ticket to the game itself," he explains.

In order to produce fully-functional parts that could perform in the real environment, the final AirDog drone was fully 3D printed using Stratasys' FDM technology in FDM-based ULTEM material, chosen thanks to its ability to provide parts of extreme strength and durability, with the lightweight characteristics vital for take-off and in-flight manoeuvrability. Conversely, the accompanying AirLeash was developed using Stratasys' PolyJet multi-material 3D printing technology and 3D printed in a single pass.

Helico executives plan to put on a month-long promotional roadshow in the US this month in which they will show off a 3D printed version of AirDog to generate interest among end-users within the extreme sports scene. The AirDog finished products will be manufauctured using traditional methods and will retail for $1,500. Helico expects to commercially introduce AirDog to the market at the end of October, 2014.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

Maybe you also like:


Eliza, Team AirDog wrote at 7/1/2014 5:31:07 PM:

Thanks so much for mentioning AirDog! There are four major AirDog advantages: 1. It is tested and working prototype ready for production. 2. It will be the first commercial product of its kind in the market from November 2014. 3. It has AirLeash – waterproof GPS device tracking your movement with a significantly better signal than smartphones. Additionally you can use it with gloves when you ride, as well as during surfing and kiteboarding. 4. Two years of R&D invested into the creation of a working prototype to get the best possible solution for action sports. The AirDog has also been tested at 11000ft altitude and works perfectly at these heights, and right now AirDog Team even offer different colour options for your drones, that people can vote for on their Facebook page! It would be awesome if you supported AirDog on Kickstarter! So far we’ve reached our 500,000 $ goal and still have 24 until the campaign ends! Eliza, Team AirDog

Wild Bill wrote at 6/27/2014 12:58:23 AM:

Will Airdog fall foul of the new FAA proposed rules FAA-2014-0396 as the user does not have line of sight on the quadcopter at all times ???

Adam wrote at 6/26/2014 2:22:23 PM:

It's cool to see it fully 3d printed. But both this and the HEXO+ also on kickstarter are pushing the auto follow drone pretty hard, but the thing is, that tech is already available. I can buy a $300 drone from hobby king (nova) with APM (open source) and 3d robotics makes an open source auto follow app for it, and it has gps. this is $1500 and requires a wait. I'm not sure what the draw is to either project other than not knowing other options are aready out there and shipping for a fraction of the cost.

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to

3ders.org Feeds 3ders.org twitter 3ders.org facebook   

About 3Ders.org

3Ders.org provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive