Charles Pringle (Mechanical Engineering Technology)
3D printers have dropped in price to the point that an average consumer can purchase one. Accompanying this rise in home 3D printing is a relatively new sport known as drone racing. This sport involves racing drones through a predetermined course at high speed, which inevitably results in a high crash rate. This project is about building a 3D printed drone frame that is strong enough to survive minor crashes but can be easily and cheaply replaced after major crashes. The frame is made of PLA+ filament using an Ender 3 printer. Each arm is individually mounted for easy replacement, while the main frame is bolted together to protect the vital electronics. Filament was printed at 100% infill to improve strength and reduce vibration input from the motors. The device was tested using the official drone racing time trial course and rule book. It was compared to other pre-built drone times with the goal of being within 15% of the average time. Accompanying the speed test was a durability test versus common obstacles at 25% throttle. The 3D printed frame was expected to stand up to triple the crashes that a commercial frame of the same size and weight could withstand before complete frame failure. The printed frame met this condition while remaining under the cost of an average pre-built drone frame worth $25.
Keywords: Drone, 3D Printing, PLA+