Aldora Avionics produce highly customisable drones for defence and aerospace industry. The development of a fully autonomous drone mainly consisted of CNC cut carbon fiber with only the gimbal part being 3D printed.
After the first initial prototype testing, the strength of the MJF 3D printed parts came as a surprise. With this knowledge they decided to adjust the design by consolidating the number of parts and 3D printing the entire drone body.
The number of components was reduced by a factor of almost 6 and the time to assemble the drone went from being two weeks to two days. The total weight of the drone was also reduced by 20%. This was partially attributed to the 3D printed lattice structures within the wings. Instead of 3D printing a solid block of plastic or metal, engineers can use overlapping, interlocking patterns that are partially hollow. When these lattices are designed properly, they can greatly improve the mechanical properties of a part, making it lighter and stronger.
A collaborative production relationship
Because of the lower production costs mentioned above, working with an additive manufacturing partner made it easy for Aldore to take advantage of on-demand batch production and reduce inventory and storage costs. It also allowed minor changes and improvements to be made without impacting lead times.