The Next Stepair-frame that has been designed in such a way that it can actually minimize the total amount of material that is required in its construction. It is now possible to make a 3D print of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. A day is all it takes to do this and have it in the air doing its thing. This blended-wing UAV was created by the Design & Prototyping Group at the center. ABS plastic was used to manufacture it using a process called fused deposition modeling (FDM).
In the past, a few other groups had been successful in making a similar UAV but the material they had used in its manufacture was Ultem resin, which is far more expensive. The FDM-additive manufacturing process is simplified and is also much more inexpensive. The initial investment in the process is also very low as compared to earlier methods.
However, in using 3D printing technology, the components will still have to be supported with some other material to prevent them from getting deformed in the printing process. But we guess that very soon, some smart scientist will find a solution for that too.