Dec 9, 2015 | By Benedict

Teenager Austin Haughwout, who became (in)famous earlier this year for building a handgun-wielding drone, is in the news again for another boundary-pushing feat of engineering and 3D printing. The controversial Connecticut resident has just released a video of a partially 3D printed, flamethrower-toting drone. The four-minute video shows the unmanned aircraft “roasting the holiday turkey”—in other words, completely incinerating a spit-roasted bird and its surrounding kindling.

The controversial video is tagged with a HobbyKing watermark, where the maker reportedly bought many of the drone’s components, such as motors, propellors and frame bars. Haughwout also designed several of the drone’s parts himself. “There was also a significant number of 3D printed parts, wiring, soldering, and miscellaneous parts included,” he explained in the video’s description.

Although undoubtedly an impressive build, the video has received a mixed response, with some viewers criticizing the irresponsibility of building such a hazardous machine and bringing the drone-flying community into disrepute. “Really hope Hobby King wasn't stupid enough to endorse this video,” said one YouTuber.

Another viewer was critical of the young hobbyist’s technical skills, as well as his apparently skewed moral compass. “You do realize that this isn't really that hard to make. [The] only difference between regular UAS operators and him is that most of us are in our right mind and won’t devise a weapon out of our hobby. ”

However, many are still backing Haughwout and his projects. The video has received a greater number of “likes” than “dislikes”, and has drawn some positive comments. “Probably not legal (in the future) but 100% awesome,” gushed one user.

The American teen was the subject of a formal investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration earlier this year, after his gun-firing drone drew fierce criticism from some quarters. In the end, no charges were brought against the maker, as he could not be accused of any specific crime (there is currently no law specifically banning individuals from weaponizing drones). Haughwout also gained a measure of attention and notoriety in 2014, after posting a video of an altercation between himself and a furious beach-goer. The woman, who accused the drone pilot of taking photographs of sunbathing women, was later arrested for assault. Haughwout was also arrested in July of this year after allegedly assaulting two police officers.

Although Haughwout’s controversial creations are unlikely to inspire too many copycat builds, drones of a non-lethal kind are becoming more and more popular, with over 400,000 expected to be sold over the Christmas period.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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