Titomic, an Australian metal 3D printer manufacturer, has developed what is said to be the largest 3D printed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). The 1.8 meter (in diameter) titanium UAV was created using Titomic Kinetic Fusion (TKF), the company’s proprietary additive manufacturing process to be at a military standard.
“We’re excited to be working with the global defense industry to combine Australian resources, manufacturing, and innovation which will increase our sovereign capability to provide further modern technology for Australia and its defense force,” said Jeffrey Lang, founder of Titomic.
3D printed UAVs
The TKF process uses cold-gas spraying of titanium and titanium alloy particles to fuse dissimilar metals and produce strong structures without melting. The supersonic deposition of metal powders in this process has joined nickel, copper, and alloys such as stainless steel, Inconel, and tungsten carbide.
According to Titomic, this process has unlocked opportunities to create unique materials and parts that are unobtainable using other manufacturing methods. More specifically, high-performance metal alloys made into single, heterogeneous parts, have allowed for more durable and lightweight UAVs.
In September 2018, the company signed a defense agreement with TAUV, a manufacturer of military-grade armor, to produce “ruggedized soldier-enabled” UAVs. As a result, a prototype 3D printed UAV created was shortlisted for the Land Forces 2018 Industry Innovation Awards, an international defense exposition held in Adelaide.
The “largest and fastest” metal 3D printer
TKF is exclusively marketed by Titomic under the patent terms of Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), an Australian government initiative responsible for bringing 3D printing courses to Australian Universities.
This technology is used in the company’s “largest and fastest 3D metal printer,” which features a 6-axis robot arm and an output size of 9m x 3m x 1.5m. This machine is designed to create large industrial parts such as airplane wings and submarines as well as UAVs.
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Featured image shows Jeffrey Lang (left) and Elias Baini, Sales Manager at Titomic with the 3D printed UAV. Photo via Titomic.