“We came up with new ideas to improve the design by fully using the design benefits offered by 3D Printing and come up with a lighter yet stronger frame.”
Maarten Durie, Product Manager, Trimble
Lighter frames would translate, crucially, to longer flight time per battery recharge. “One of the first ideas was to look into the joints that keep the frame together. In the first iteration of the drone, these joints were simply over-molded in Vacuum Casting based on the 3D-printed masters. But a direct production in Additive Manufacturing would not only mean a faster production process, it would also mean a smaller gap between design changes.”
Printing the joints is one thing, but manually applying the glue during frame assembly could compromise the consistency. How do you ensure that each joint uses the right amount of glue, for optimal adhesion and minimal leakage? So Trimble and Materialise engineers worked on integrating clever glue channels into the frame design, ensuring optimal glue spread.