The Application of Additive Manufacturing to the 2018 SAE Aero Design Challenge 2019-01-1328
This project focuses on the application of polymer additive manufacturing to the 2018 SAE Aero Design Regular Class competition for North Carolina A&T State’s 2017/2018 senior project team. The Regular Class SAE Aero Design challenge requires participating teams to create a high lift, high efficiency remote controlled aircraft that is designed to carry as many passengers and additional cargo mass as possible while still being able to meet land and air performance requirements defined by the competition rules. Constraints set by the competition rules include material constraints, a max gross weight of 55 lb, a limited power supply of 1000 W, a 12-ft wingspan limitation, enclosed cargo and passenger bays, the ability to unload and load all cargo and return the plane to a flight ready configuration within 1 minute, and a takeoff distance of 200 ft. The wide use of additive manufacturing and hot wire foam cutting for this aircraft design has allowed for accurate and efficient component production, as well as increased design complexity compared to traditional manufacturing methods seen at competition. Most importantly, the use of these manufacturing methods has allowed for efficient design change implementations and quick turnaround times. Specific examples include the light weight, high fineness ratio fuselage that efficiently used space and integrated landing gear and mounting structures, which was made with ABS and polycarbonate polymers. Additional examples include the implementation of shock absorbing landing gear wheels, which were made of fatigue resistant PETG. Results show that the use of innovate manufacturing methods such as additive manufacturing and hot wire foam cutting helped to increase prototyping and testing efficiency, and enabled quick production of an organically shaped, high performing RC aircraft.