One piece 3D printed airplane

If you don’t already know about 3D printers, get ready to have your mind expanded. Rather than printing a 2D image with ink, these devices create physical objects, one layer at a time. Seriously, it’s like something out of Star Trek! If someone invents a machine part, imagines a movie prop for a fantasy film, or wants to create an abstract sculpture, a 3D printer will be able to make it a reality. Explaining how it works gets a bit technical for us, but this video ought to answer your questions. And even if you’ve seen 3D printers in action before, this particular project is pretty impressive because of the plane’s wings – they’re so thin you can see thru them!


Deez Maker’s blog offers more insight into how the plane idea happened –

I was curious about possibly printing a one piece toy airplane that would actually fly, especially to test very thin layers using the Bukobot. I sat down last night and in about an hour or so I created a quick draft of one on the free 3D design app OpenSCAD (openscad.org). I printed it in PLA (the eco-friendly material) because it’s actually much stiffer than ABS and I wanted it to be as stiff as possible. This is why I love 3D printing! Get an idea, draw it up and print… anytime! The coolest part of this is that I think I got it close to flying! It’s not quite balanced correctly yet, but I think with a few more little tweaks it might actually work. It needed it to be pretty light for it to fly (without needing to throw it super fast), so I made the wings pretty thin. I designed them to be about 0.6mm thick and I set the slicer app (slic3r.org) to print at 0.1mm. At that resolution, it would take about 5 very thin layers to make the main part of the wings. This may seem like a lot of layers, but this will still make them light and thin but pretty strong because of the alternating fill pattern (kind of how plywood gets it’s strength).

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