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20 Nov, 2013 | News, Videos, Featured

3D Printed Armor For Your Air Hogs Heli

In a small, crowded corner of the Air Hogs design team’s space at Air Hogs HQ, product designer Daryl Tearne is working on CAD for a new custom piece for one of the newest Air Hogs helicopters - the Heli Cage Armored Edition.

CAD, or Computer-Aided Design, is the technology behind the design of most consumer products. Like part architect, part sculptor, Tearne manipulates a virtual representation of the part on screen that will be manufactured, or in this case, 3D-printed. 3D-printing for the uninitiated is a state of the art technology which uses a small “printer” that creates real three dimensional objects by laying down drops upon drops of plastic material to build it from the ground up. It’s quite fascinating to see something you created on a computer literally materialize out of thin air.

While 3D-printing is still a bit too expensive to be truly mainstream it’s popularity among home “makers” has taken off and prices are dropping rapidly. There are even online services and some brick and mortar retailers who will print out 3D pieces for you.

To further the rise of this techno trend the Air Hogs team decided to help push this technology by offering, for the first time ever, a custom part for the Heli Cage Armored Edition - a heli that features removable plastic armor. Once the CAD was designed, samples were built on a Makerbot 3D printer for the engineers to flight test. Tweaks were made for weight balance and the final design was approved for release.

Download the CAD

Air Hogs has provided this 3D file free to everyone download and print out on their own 3D printer (a Heli Cage Armored edition is required to make use of it). Don’t have a 3D printer? Not a problem. Try online printers like Sulpteo who will print it from your 3D file and ship it to you. And for the very technical inclined, the open source 3D file is fully manipulable so budding designers can modify it even further to create a truly custom piece. To learn more about the whole process from design to assembly check out the video below.

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