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"US Army Looking to 3D-Print Minidrones in 24 Hours" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP11 Jan 2017 9:59 p.m. PST

"Imagine a squad of Army Rangers prepping to capture a high-value subject barricaded inside a three-story building. The Rangers decide send in a small camera drone to check for IEDs but there's a problem: the enemy has begun putting its booby-traps on the ceiling, where the downward-facing drones can't see them. If only those little gizmos had cameras on the top…?

A new project by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory and Georgia Technical Institute just might help. It aims to give soldiers the ability to 3D-print swarms of mini-drones to specific specifications within 24 hours. Its creators call this approach "aggregate derivative approach to product design," or ADAPT.

"A soldier with a mission need uses a computer terminal to rapidly design a suitable [drone]," says a poster by project chief engineer Zacarhy Fisher. "That design is then manufactured using automated processes such as laser cutting and 3D printing. The solution is sent back to the soldier and is deployed."…"
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Mako11 Inactive Member12 Jan 2017 3:03 a.m. PST

I hope they're a bit more durable than some of the minis I've received.

Then again, if they can print scores of them, perhaps that doesn't matter, if they're a little more durable than your average, WSF miniature, which I find to be "white", but the "strong" and "flexible" claims are clearly hyperbole.

More accurate descriptors would be white, inflexible, and fragile, or WIF.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP12 Jan 2017 11:25 a.m. PST



UshCha13 Jan 2017 3:05 a.m. PST

What do you do to your WSF? I have never broke one yet! I have bent 1/144 tank gun barrels baddly and straigtened them with no lasting damage. Dropped on the floot regularly without as mutch as a fleck of paint damage. Do you put them in the Frezzer first to make them brittle? ;-). Are you susre its not WSf, Ultra detail and its illk are hopeless.

thehawk14 Jan 2017 7:12 a.m. PST

I get it. Starve the enemy out while you are waiting for your order to be delivered.

The Navy would just flip the existing drones over and reverse label the up/down controls ………

Aotrs Commander14 Jan 2017 9:52 a.m. PST


I am also rtather surprised you have had problems with WSF. My experience is it has been a far better structural material than either plastic or metal.

The very first time I had a model:

I dropped it on the hard-wood lacquered floor of the wargames club and it landed on the turret at the botton there and it bounced.

We also once time reached a convention with one of my tank's gun barrels bent. So we said "oh dear" and bent them back and by te end of the day we had no idea which tank it had been.

Are you in the US? I do recall some folk on Star Ranger complaining that the US division of Shapeways was not as competant as the EU division.

I can only hazard that, or you have been extremely unlucky, as we have yet to have a single WSF model fail.

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