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The Unibody 3D Printed Drone by Markforged Mark X

Check out one of our new favorite Mark X parts: a unibody, 3D printed drone. Dreamed up as a potential demonstration of the size, strength, and surface finish of Mark X parts, it has far exceeded expectations in practice. This post will provide some insight into how the part was designed for printing and flying quality.

When designing a part from scratch, it’s important to first consider the requirements for a successful part. Markforged had four central requirements:

  1. Unibody: In order to showcase the size of the Mark X, the main structure of the drone needed to be one part. This both shows off the size of the Mark X and eliminates weak points where multiple parts would connect.
  2. Fit IRIS+ Hardware: Markforged chose to use the hardware, control, and motors from an IRIS+ Drone for the final product. This meant that all the critical components and wiring from that drone had to fit easily inside the hollow body of the part without upsetting center of gravity. Secondarily, the hardware needed to be easily removable as they intended to iterate through several prototypes.
  3. Print in Onyx without supports: A unibody drone is a time consuming print. By itself, the drone contains more than 220 cubic centimeters of Onyx. Markforged wanted to limit print time to less than three days at most, which meant minimizing (or even eliminating in some prototypes) carbon fiber usage and designing to eliminate supports altogether.
  4. Fit on a Mark X Build Plate: This may seem simple, but it meant that we needed to be creative in propeller placement.

To learn more about the design, iteration and performance of the 3D printed drone, as well as a cool time lapse video, click here.

And for more information about Markforged 3D printers, contact us at any time here.

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