Reinforced composite materials that were used in the construction of on-car and wind tunnel parts and components for racing teams have taken the technology of 3D Printing to new heights to produce parts for the entertainment industry and consumers. The case-study describes the construction of the first leisure drone: Bebop 2.
The Parrot Drone Project
Parrot launched its first quadricopter piloted by Wi-Fi with a smartphone and equipped with embedded camera in 2010: the AR.Drone. Since then, Parrot has been leading the way in the civil drone industries with a range of drones and minidrones, and continues to guide the innovation with the state-of-the-art Bebop 2, launched in 2015.
Powerful with impressive stability and maneuverability even in extreme conditions, Bebop 2 offers very easy-to-use piloting with no learning. Data collected by seven sensor are analyzed and merged thanks to the impressive calculation capability of its onboard computer.
Bebop 2 integrates a front facing camera specifically design for it. Pilot can digitally change the angle of the camera by 180° by just sliding a finger on the screen of the piloting device. Digitally stabilized on 3-axis thanks to powerful algorithms, images are bright, perfectly stable and without distortion regardless of the drone movements.
Numerous systems reinforced the safety of the flights: emergency cut-out feature of the engines, emergency cut-out feature of the propellers in case of contact, limitation of the altitude and of the flying perimeter, automatic return home feature and a LED, at the back of the machine, to understand the direction of the flight while keeping the drone in sight.
The collaboration with CRP Technology
Parrot developed Bebop 2 using Windform GT material. The first Bebop 2 structure was built on injected parts made with polyamide based glass reinforced composite material. The company adopted SLS technology in collaboration with CRP Technology in order to optimize the structure performance without developing long lead time and high cost injection tooling. It also worked to accelerate iteration generation, improve manufacturing time and facilitate production in series
Parrot carried out an original development approach based on experimental diagnosis and FE model aimed at improving the quality of the video during flight (which is usually altered by the vibrations of the drone) through the optimization of drone design. The structure has been manly developed according to that target and by finding smart design to reduce weight. Parrot validated that natural frequencies of parts manufactured with Windform GT material were similar to injected parts with polyamide based glass reinforced composite material. Combined to FE analysis Parrot has reduced dramatically the development time. The drone manufacturer was also able to evaluate toughness of the product structure (a consumer drone as Bebop 2 is a flying machine likely to crash often in the hands of beginners).
Founded in 1994 by Henri Seydoux, Parrot (FR0004038263 – PARRO) creates, develops and markets advanced technology wireless products for consumers and professionals.
The company builds on a common technological expertise to innovate and develop in three primary markets:
– Civil drones: With recreational quadricopters and solutions for professional use.
– Connected objects: With a focus in audio and gardening.
– Automotive: With the most extensive range of hands-free communication and infotainment system for vehicles on the market.
Headquartered in Paris, Parrot currently employs more than 1.000 people worldwide and generates the majority of its sales overseas. It has been listed on the Euronext Paris index since 2006.
About CRP Technology
CRP Technology is based in Modena, Northern Italy, in the area of the so-called Italian Motor Valley. It is one of CRP Group’s five specialized divisions. Each reality is an example of excellence in its target sector. With more than 45 years of experience in the world of F1 alongside the major international teams, the CRP Group is distinguished by its know-how in specific application fields: with its emphasis on customization, high-end technologies, a broad range of applications and customer service, the CRP Group maintains a strong relationship with client companies and entrepreneurs in the fields of the automotive industry and motorsports, design, aerospace, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), the marine, entertainment and packaging.
Specifically the activity of CRP Technology is dedicated to additive manufacturing, ranging from the motorsport industry to the aviation, aerospace industry and UAV. CRP Technology also produces and sells worldwide composite materials for additive manufacturing, called Windform. The family of the Windform is composed of: Windform XT 2.0, Windform LX 2.0, Windform GT, Windform SP. Each material is characterised by mechanical features that make them the suitable materials for several applications. CRP Technology has extensive expertise in the technique of Selective Laser Sintering in high-performance sectors. The company has worked with some of the most important racing teams at a worldwide level, in particular in the building of parts and components that were tested in wind tunnel, but also used on the track.
About Windform® materials
Windform® materials are laser sintering materials for 3D printing and additive manufacturing. Windform composite SLS materials were born from the study-research of R&D department of CRP Technology and international market needs.
Windform® is the ideal composite SLS material that is able to satisfy the needs of international market of Additive Manufacturing. The SLS materials Windform® can guarantee: originality, innovation, reliability, and mechanical performances; a structured customer care service to gather the needs and inquiries of customers together with the R&D department of CRP Technology, leader in the field of Additive Manufacturing. The Windform® SLS composite materials guarantee high prototype performance and definition level for the maximum adherence to the conception of the project.
The material’s superior values in regards to impact strength and elongation at break, combined with its tensile and flexural strength, makes it ideal for applications where resistance to “damage” is a prerequisite in order to preserve internal components in the event of impact and/ or improper use.
Windform GT is also a waterproof material, with resistance to the absorption of moisture and liquids. It is also very light with excellent mechanical properties per unit density.
For automotive applications which require specific flexibility in the car and under the hood (such as snap fit components). It is also suitable for motorsports, air ducts, intake and cooling systems, hydraulic ducts in contact with liquids or oils, protective covers for sensors, and for all applications that need flexibility and resistance to damage (for example: racing components near the ground).
These applications indicated are just examples. The versatility of the product combined with the technology used allows for near endless possibilities.