SUNConferences, RAPDASA 2014

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Paul Cronjé

Last modified: 2014-10-24


During the establishment of the Three-dimensional (3D) Printing Facility at Denel Dynamics, various obstacles had to be overcome. One of these obstacles was the general perception by designers that 3D printing produces parts that are brittle, not very strong and can only be used for mock‑ups. This led to an in-house development project to develop and manufacture a 3D-printed radio-controlled plane. The project proved that 3D printing can be used for functional parts and is capable of far more than perceived.

After the conceptual design, layout and aerodynamic design were completed, the Computer‑aided Design (CAD) model was modelled. The detailed design was approved in a design reviewand 3D printed on a Fortus 250mc 3D printer. The hardware was integrated with the electronics and tests were done to verify the performance of the subsystems. To test the system, a test flight was conducted, during which successes and failures were experienced. It was decided to make some changes to the design according to lessons learnt, and to conduct a second flight test.The design was changed and some of the components were reprinted and integrated. The second flight test was more successful than the first, and it was concluded that the goal of the project had been achieved.


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