Oct 14, 2016 | By Alec

We here at 3ders.org have seen plenty of 3D printed drones before, which have been adapted to just about any purpose you can think of. But 3D printing can also make a valuable contribution to existing drones, as the EXO 1 exoskeleton has shown. This 3D printed add-on frame by Frost Design can transform the popular DJI Phantom 4 drone into a dedicated search-and-rescue tool. Absolutely packed with hardware mounts, this 3D printed exoskeleton enables an imaging-based and highly efficient search-and-rescue mission.

The Phantom 4 drone by established drone manufacturers DJI is a fantastic all-purpose drone, but a single camera doesn’t make a huge difference to search-and-rescue missions – during which time is absolutely of the essence. In fact, first responder rescue teams prefer to rely on multi-camera tools that allow for efficient imaging analysis off-site. That, in a nutshell, is what the EXO 1 exoskeleton provides.

Key is the EXO 1’s very low weight and various add-on slots that enable users to quickly attach a wide host of search-and-rescue tools, such as GoPros and lights. The exoskeleton itself is attached using just a handful of plastic zip-ties, while the cameras and lights, such as the small an powerful Knog Qudos, just slide into mounting ports. Bicycle light mounts are also available, so any type of light can be used in a pinch. It’s a very simple and highly flexible way to equip a drone with search equipment at a moment’s notice, and requires little technical knowledge at all.

What’s more, the strong EXO 1 can even be equipped with a simple payload system, which relies on carabiners and neodinyum magnetics. This makes it possible to carry small payloads, such as food and water, to a stranded person. The drone can even make the delivery without a landing being necessary – the target person simply breaks the magnetic bond with just a bit of force.

Various search-and-rescue teams have already revealed that this drone solution can add a lot of value to their work, and believe that it can make the difference between life and death in several situations. The exoskeleton was designed for a design contest sponsored by DJI and Shapeways, a double-sided attempt to showcase the versatility of the Phantom 4. Frost Design won the first prize for his EXO 1, pocketing the $1,000 prize and a Phantom 4 drone. What’s more, Frost Design is currently selling the 3D printed exoskeleton which can be found here for just $113.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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