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3D Printed Plane Soars

A flight-worthy 3D printed plane was created from scratch in less than a week by a British design team, as detailed in an article from New Scientist. The project participants, which include Andy Keane and Jim Scanlan from the University of Southampton, are aiming to demonstrate the viability of using 3D printing to create drone planes. A successful outcome will bode well for the continued use of this economically-friendly additive manufacturing process.

Sulsa UAVUsing 3D printing, these unmanned aircraft, also known as drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are able to move from the drawing board to takeoff in under a week. This is a boon for aircraft designers since the traditional design process often took too long and cost too much. The new technology allows designers to be more creative and try out different shapes. Says Keane: "With 3D printing we can go back to pure forms and explore the mathematics of airflow without being forced to put in straight lines to keep costs down."

With a £5000 budget, the design team set out to create the Southampton University Laser Sintered Aircraft (Sulsa) with super-low-drag and a 1.5-metre-wingspan. They were assisted by UK-based 3D-printing firm, 3T RPD of Greenham Common, which created the UAV out of hard nylon. To keep complexity and weight down, Sulsa has no undercarriage, necessitating a catapult-style launch and a belly landing. An electric motor eliminates the need for starting equipment and heavy fuel.

When it came time for the real-world flight test, the researchers and their partners set out for a grass airstrip in the UK's Wiltshire Downs. The plane, which took two days to design and five days to print, successfully transitioned from its catapult cradle to a stable air-borne trajectory, even surviving the wet weather conditions before coming in for a belly landing. Video below.

Full story at New Scientist

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Feature Articles

Titan Puts a New Spin on GE’s Wind Turbine Research

Unlike traditional energy sources, wind is a trouble to tame, which has led GE to turn to advanced simulations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to put the technology on track to cover 12 percent of the world's energy production.

Lighting a Fire Under Combustion Simulation

Combustion simulation might seem like the ultimate in esoteric technologies, but auto companies, aircraft firms and fuel designers need increasingly sophisticated software to serve the needs of 21st century engine designs. HPCwire recently got the opportunity to take a look at Reaction Design, one of the premier makers of combustion simulation software, and talk with its CEO, Bernie Rosenthal.

D-Wave Sells First Quantum Computer

On Wednesday, D-Wave Systems made history by announcing the sale of the world's first commercial quantum computer. The buyer was Lockheed Martin Corporation, who will use the machine to help solve some of their "most challenging computation problems." D-Wave co-founder and CTO Geordie Rose talks about the new system and the underlying technology.

Short Takes

Local Motors and ORNL Partner for Automotive Manufacturing

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Advanced Modeling Benefits Wind Farms

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Sponsored Whitepapers

Technical Computing for a New Era

07/30/2013 | IBM | This white paper examines various means of adapting technical computing tools to accelerate product and services innovation across a range of commercial industries such as manufacturing, financial services, energy, healthcare, entertainment and retail. No longer is technically advanced computing limited to the confines of big government labs and academic centers. Today it is available to a wide range of organizations seeking a competitive edge.

The UberCloud HPC Experiment: Compendium of Case Studies

06/25/2013 | Intel | The UberCloud HPC Experiment has achieved the volunteer participation of 500 organizations and individuals from 48 countries with the aim of exploring the end-to-end process employed by digital manufacturing engineers to access and use remote computing resources in HPC centers and in the cloud. This Compendium of 25 case studies is an invaluable resource for engineers, managers and executives who believe in the strategic importance of applying advanced technologies to help drive their organization’s productivity to perceptible new levels.

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