Aug. 29, 2014 | By Alec

While cleaning your own home might not be the first readers associate with the word 'drones', that might be changing in the near future. For a young team of Belgian entrepreneurial engineers is currently working on the AirButlr, a drone helicopter that will capable of finding dirt anywhere in your home, retrieving cleaning materials and then actually removing said dirt as well. While the design and prototyping phases are still underway, the team behind the AirButlr intends to largely use 3D printing technology to construct their robotic cleaning lady.

Founders Wouter Nuytten and Thomas Broekaert, who are both still in their early twenties, are hopeful to make drone technology accessible for ordinary people. As they explained on their Facebook: 'We believe in giving people back more time to do what is truly important to them. That's why we're building the next-generation housekeepers. One revolutionary product that manages your entire household.'

They hope to launch a Kickstarter campaign very soon, but much is about the actual machine and its functions has already been revealed. The AirButlr will an UAV, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle designed to complete basic household tasks cleaning your windows and mowing your lawn and is programmed to locate and remove dirt itself.

Aside from the drone itself, the AirButlr will include a set of removable cleaning applications that the drone can transport and operate in its cleaning tasks. As can be seen in the various concept designs, the AirButlr will also include a base of operations that holds the cleaning applications, mounts the right application to the drone and also functions as the UAV's charger.

Of course, one of the main questions readers might come up with is: how can it detect and properly remove dirt? While much is still unclear about the machine, the team behind the AirButlr does argue that all elements of the drone work with advanced sensors, batteries and motors, in combination with high-level detection and mapping algorithms. Furthermore, they intend to develop a smartphone application that will allow users to operate AirButlr. And when this 21st century butler gets a command, or locates dirt, he will retrieve the corresponding cleaning materials and do what it is made to do.

Nuytten, Broekaert and their team are currently working on a prototype model, but are getting closer to a working product. As they explained to printing community 3D Hubs, 'We started building our proof-of-concept with duct tape and cardboard to get a clear idea of the proper shape and size for the poducts," says Wouter. "We barely used software, not even sensors at that time. For the AirButlr, we bought a 3D Robotics quadcopter. So our first proof-of-concept was a flying robot taking off from a box and transporting a smaller box around. This box would later become a cleaning application.'

3D printing is, however, already instrumental in their creative process and that will likely also be the case when the final product is developed. 3D printable models of the AirButlr's frames and cases were designed with the free Autodesk 123D Design software, and excellent program for starting designers. For the printing services, meanwhile, the team behind the Airbutlr enlisted the help of Cervo-Go in Ieper, Belgium, which uses the MakerBot Replicator 2 3D Printer.

See the drone's 3D printed parts:

While we anxiously wait for a glimpse of a prototype than can actually clean, we are very hopeful that this combination of 3D printing and drone technology will be making people's lives much easier in the near future. Interested readers should Look out for the AirButlr's Kickstarter, which will hopefully begin very soon. You can also check out their Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date.

See an animated test flight of the Airbutlr drone here:


Posted in 3D Printing Applications

Maybe you also like:


Ben wrote at 8/29/2014 7:24:58 PM:

HILARIOUS! How do you vacuum dirt up while blasting 4 duct fans at it? HMMM? Do they know how loud these are? Do you know how loud it will be to lift 11LBS!?! EVEN IF it can avoid things on counters the air it will blow around will knock every thing over. LOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!! I put this up there with Solar Roadways

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About 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