Asee peer logo

Application of 3D Printed and Composites Technology to UAS Development

Download Paper |

Conference

2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016

ISBN

978-0-692-68565-5

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Subjects in 3D Printing and ET Programs

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

14

DOI

10.18260/p.26254

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/26254

Download Count

41

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Michael C. Hatfield University of Alaska, Fairbanks

visit author page

Michael C. Hatfield is an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and Associate Director for Science & Education, Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration. He earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Ohio Northern University; an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from California State University Fresno, and a Ph.D. in Electrical/Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

visit author page

biography

John Monahan University of Alaska Fairbanks, Upward Bound

visit author page

John Monahan is currently the Director of University of Alaska Fairbanks, Upward Bound and Principal Investigator of the National Science Foundations EPSCoR Track 3 "Modern Blanket Toss" project investigating the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in K12 classrooms.

visit author page

biography

Sarah R Hoffman University of Alaska Fairbanks

visit author page

Sarah graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a Bachelor's of Science in Mechanical Engineering, concentration in Aerospace and minor in Mathematics. She then joined the ACUASI team designing mechanical integration of payloads using CAD programs and a 3D printer. Poked and prodded almost daily for a year by her supervisor, she finally decided to go back to school for a Master's degree.

visit author page

biography

Steven Kibler Northern Embedded Solutions

visit author page

Steven is a graduate from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, with a Master's in Computer Engineering. Nearing the end of his degree program, he started a company, Northern Embedded Solutions, which has gone on to make custom electronics for the University of Alaska, and companies like Fairweather Science and Lockheed Martin.

visit author page

biography

Alfred Upton ACUASI

visit author page

University of Alaska Fairbanks UAF
Northern Embedded Solutions NES
Alaska Center for Unmanned Aircraft Integration ACUASI

visit author page

biography

Patrick Bakke Dewane University of Alaska, Fairbanks

visit author page

Patrick Dewane Is a student of many disciplines at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. He tries to balance time between holding a pencil and hammer,

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

The CENTER as part of the UNIVERSITY and a partner with the FAA’s TEST SITE is tasked with the dual role of exploring the application of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) to academic and scientific research as well as evaluating the safety and proper operating practices in order to integrate unmanned aircraft into the National Air Space. An important component of this is the ability to test a wide variety of sensors and integrate them into UAS platforms quickly to respond to academic and scientific research proposals. This necessitates evaluating multiple sensors and rapidly integrating them into existing aircraft platforms.

The approach taken is that of rapid prototyping utilizing 3D printing and in-house composite layups to create prototypes that can be evaluated. The ability to design a part, print it, and test it in a day or two allows the shortening of the engineering design cycle and the ability rapidly evaluate sensor integration solutions and therefore the sensors themselves. While parts can be out-sourced for final design models, it has also been determined that in-house 3D printed designs, and composite layers using 3D printed molds can be of sufficient quality for field work, depending on the application.

This approach has been applied to the development of aircraft in the example of the CENTER Ptarmigan, an electric powered hexacopter which utilizes commercial-off-the-shelf components combined with custom parts, including 3D printed covers, battery cases, etc. in order to create an “open” hardware/software style system. This gives CENTER the ability to integrate sensors onto a platform without requiring vendor support to overcome proprietary, locked down systems.

Examples of sensors integrated into the Ptarmigan include: 1) multiple instruments designed to sample particulate matter for volcano and wildfire plumes (optical particle, impact drum sensor, and IR technologies); 2) IR cameras for survey of arctic land/marine wildlife, volcano and wildfire footprints, and monitoring critical oil pipeline/processing infrastructure; and 3) single/multiple camera configurations to precisely measure vegetation structure, and create digital elevation models of glacial/sea ice; 4) hyperspectral camera to analyze numerous arctic environmental phenomena, such as vegetation health and regrowth after wildfires, presence of minerals in support of resource discovery, oil spill cleanup, and shoreline soil composition for coastal erosion studies.

In addition, sensor/payload components for other aircraft types have been developed for fixed-wing and rotary wing aircraft, including a methane sensor, numerous gimbal components/protective casings for camera payloads. Additional UAS vehicles include the LM Stalker (wildfire monitoring) and DJI F450 (paired with unmanned ground vehicles for mine rescue operations).

This approach of “open” style aircraft combined with the use of cutting edge technology to rapidly prototype and integrate sensors onto UAS has seen some numerous life success in projects undertaken by CENTER. Impacts of these have enabled great advances in our scientific research and academics.

This paper will provide details of payloads/components fabricated for CENTER UAS assets supporting exciting arctic research, as well as lessons learned and efforts pushing this down to HS/MS students.

Hatfield, M. C., & Monahan, J., & Hoffman, S. R., & Kibler, S., & Upton, A., & Dewane, P. B. (2016, June), Application of 3D Printed and Composites Technology to UAS Development Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26254

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2016 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015