Apr. 28, 2015 | By Simon

As far as popular and contemporary Maker pastimes go, UAVs (drones) and 3D printing are among the most popular … and for good reason.  While there are dozens - if not hundreds - of activities and projects out there to help keep Makers busy and pushing new ideas into the future, the UAV and 3D printing industries are among those that are moving forward the fastest, meaning that there is likely something new to try always.  However as great as each of the technologies is on their own, it’s when the two are combined where we start to see a lot of innovation.

Recently, O’Qualia Pte Ltd, a Singapore-based unmanned aerial systems (UAS) manufacturer has developed a fully-customizable and collapsible fixed-wing unmanned aerial system design that is manufactured in-full through the use of Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) - based additive manufacturing.     

“With the dynamic requirements of each individual client and the pace within which applications evolve, it just wasn’t cost-effective nor practical in certain scenarios to build a UAS the conventional way,” said M.Rashed, an Executive Consultant at O’Qualia.

“We wanted to bring fully customisable solutions for our clients and saw the opportunity with 3D printing.”

Called the “CAPTOR”, the unmanned aerial vehicle’s wingspan measures in at 2-meters and consists of three parts that can be broken down for easy portability.  The three separate parts that make up the final assembly include two wings and a fuselage.    The parts are each made from ABS filament and feature a carbon fiber-reinforced skin.  When it is time to use the UAV, a user is able to simply assemble the three separate components of the design without the need for tools - something that is sure to go a long way in remote areas.  

“O’Qualia has always been differentiated by its customisability and with CAPTOR, I’m confident that a new standard has been set in terms of speed to market and cost ratio,” added M. Rashed.  

“Manufacturing times have been reduced by half and we’ve reduced the cost to produce each UAS by at least 40%.”  

Among other features of the CAPTOR, the combination of a specially-designed aerofoil and wide body generate significant amounts of lift which enables the vehicle to fly with reduced angles-of-attack and an increased endurance for a given weight-to-power density.  A simple one-button pre-flight check ensures that all systems are go before take-off, minimizing the time it takes to go over each of the flight systems.  Once in-flight, battery packs that have been formed to the internals of the vehicle help keep the UAV powered while any included sensors can be concealed into the internals of the vehicle.  Additionally, dual GPS receivers provide positional data and a standardized payload bay is located in the nose which consists of a retractable EO/IR day and night sensor, which is deployed automatically.  

The CAPTOR has a maximum takeoff weight of 3.5kg and is designed to carry O’Qualia’s T707 EO/IR gimbal or a CM100, which is manufactured by UAV Vision Pty Ltd.  Both enable the ability for high resolution imagery.      

Of course, all of this wouldn’t be possible without a high-torque motor.  The CAPTOR includes a high-torque electric motor that is capable of flying for 2 hours between charges and has a cruise speed of 16m/s.     

“We have endeavoured to bring to market an unmanned aerial system that is designed to be rugged, versatile, and most importantly, quick to deploy,” said E. Moseer, a Business Development Manager at O’Qualia.

“Having said that, the FDM methodology used enables us to deliver a cost-effective solution that is highly customisable to meet the differing requirements of our customer base.”

The first fleet of custom UAVs created by the company will be delivered in July of 2015 to one of the company’s larger clients that operates in the Asia-Pacific.  



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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Oden Rickie wrote at 1/4/2016 2:12:54 AM:

It's 2016 there is nothing a no news from them. This company is a flop. Let's move on.

Caleb wrote at 11/17/2015 10:28:30 PM:

This is bullshit. We don't even see a prototype and video of it in action. How can they claim this with just a CAD drawing? Just pure marketing gimmicks. If July 2015 like they said we should see something from them already.

Mendez wrote at 4/29/2015 5:46:55 AM:

What printer they used?

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