Will Drones One Day be Giant 3D Printers?

January 31, 2017

Will Drones One Day be Giant 3D Printers?

Drones are fascinating, and they seem to be everywhere from drone racing, to delivering groceries. I stumbled across this video, which very cleverly shows a drone being used to create art.

The concept appear to be quite simple, program a drone equipped with a pen (or similar), to draw on a canvas. It does this by tracking its movements, and when in position it will draw the image.

So my thought is this, could drones be used as 3D printers? A 3D printer is made up of an extruder (where the plastic / other material) comes from, and a mechanism to control the position of the extruder. So what if the mechanism was a drone, and we simply attach an extruder to it? Forget build platforms, and the limitations of build volume, with this concept you could build anything, in whatever scale you choose.

Of course I’m only really thinking out loud, but here’s my prediction for the future – Drones will be the 3D printers of the future.

Imagine a flying 3D printer, capable of 3D printing concrete. Architecture would transformed over night. Or how about a 3D printing drone which could 3D print tarmac to repair potholes on a busy motorway, thus removing the need to have someone working on a busy and dangerous road?

With the current rate of developments with things such as 3D printing and drones, will it be when, not if, my predictions come true?

Anyway, that’s the kind of abstract thoughts that go through my head!

Dean