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IAI produces SkysPrinter, the first fully 3D printed drone for Israel’s Defense

The joint program by the MoD’s Flight Technologies Department, part of the Directorate for Defense Research and Development, and IAI has seen the production of the SkysPrinter UAV and a successful test flight – Defense intelligence website Janes exclusively reported.

SkySprinterThe electrically powered UAV was made from 26 parts 3D printed using metal, nylon, carbon, and other complex materials. These were assembled together with glue and fasteners without the need for specialized tools. SkysPrinter’s body is 1.65 m-long, has a wingspan of 1.5 m, and take-off weight of 7 kg, according to the MoD.

Neta Blum, head of the Flight Technologies Department, introduced the idea of a 3D printed UAV system and the MoD allocated research and development resources over the past year, leading to the test flight.

Blum told Janes that selective laser sintering (SLS) was used to allow new designs of the SkysPrinter to be rapidly produced in line with operational feedback from commanders on the ground. “This way of doing it gives us new production capabilities and significant advantages,” she said.

She described a process of field feedback leading to new versions of the UAV within an unprecedentedly short time. If a heavier payload is needed, for example, the design can be adjusted so the UAV has thicker wings for a larger take-off weight.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst for leading US-firm SmarTech Analysis, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he Co-founded London-based 3dpbm. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites 3D Printing Media Network and Replicatore, as well as 3D Printing Business Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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