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Ukraine Deploys Fleet of 3D Printed Drones

3D printing has gone to war. 

According to io9, “troops fighting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine are being equipped with 3D printed aerial drones.”

These AEVs are paid for by volunteers and used by soldiers at the front.  A robotics lab at the Step IT Academy in Kyiv created these 3D printed drones.  They are made from plastic and “to date, the lab has produced and deployed 30 drones to the front.”

“The drones, which capture images from a maximum distance of 2.5 kilometers (1.55 miles) and can stay airborne for 20 minutes, cost about $1,200 to print (the lab goes through 20 kg (44 lbs) of plastic each day).  Additional components cost another $3,000.  At a total of $4,200 each, they’re far more affordable than the $30,000 price tag of advanced drones.”

Dmytro Franchuk, who works at Step IT Academy’s robotics lab, has visited the front to teach the soldiers how to use these cheaply made 3D printed drones.  Unfortunately, however, the head of the lab, Ivan Dovgal, told Kyiv Post that the current Ukrainian “government has not ordered mass production of his drones, blaming bureaucracy and lack of cash in the budget.”

Amazingly, the Step IT Academy’s robotics lab only has three 3D printers.  (One of them even belongs to Dovgal)  Each cost only $1,600 and account for 90 percent of all details in the vehicles made in the lab. 

Photo Courtesy of the Kyiv Post

Quotes Courtesy of io9

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