US Marines Successfully Created a 3D Printed Drone

As far as drone manufacturing goes, this is undoubtedly the hottest news this week. US Marines Corps in partnership with Autodesk have successfully created a brand new drone using 3D printing technology. This drone will, of course, be used for military purposes as an effective replacement for current, much more expensive to produce, models.

usa surveillance drone

Nicknamed Scout, the first 3D printed military drone now awaits further testing and search for possible improvements as USMC and Autodesk just announced the forming of a successful project. This could mean Scout is just the first of many drones that are going to shape up US drone lineup.

USA has a huge number of military drones

It’s true – the USA has the largest number of military drones in the world. And we are not talking about those small drones most of you already have pictured in their heads. Nope. These are huge vehicles, able to operate on a much larger scale than civil ones. They’re the pinnacle of modern-day aviation technology and as such, they are not to be taken for granted.

Especially considering that the USA is carrying out drone-based military missions almost on a daily basis. Scroll back all the way to 2002 and we’ll see the first USA military drone mission. It was actually a counterterrorism strike against members of Al-Qaeda using an incredible drone (back then) called Predator. Since then, it’s safe to say that the USA has started using drones much more frequently. Things improved even more with Obama administration which further increased the number of drone missions…

USMC and Autodesk are shaping up counterterrorism

3d printing droneBack to topic! Scout could, in fact, shape up the not only the future of US air force but the future of counterterrorism as well. But that’s not even the best part… The entire manufacturing process behind Scout leads to an amazing cost of just $613. This number looks even more amazing when compared to the cost of current drones that are going to be replaced with Scout clones. Approximately $30,000 in comparison to $613. Now that’s the best deal in t he whole history of deals, right?

When it comes to the specifications, we can only guess what this birdie will be capable of. But, as far as the design and few other traits are concerned, we actually have some valuable information. Scout is actually a relatively small fixed-wing drone. Its main usage will be surveillance and possibly the identification of possible threats via sophisticated imaging systems. It weights much less than current ones and takes only 3 minutes to fully assemble it. Best of all – it snaps apart into several parts, allowing transport in a mere field pack.

Who created Scout?

The brain behind this whole idea of a 3D printable surveillance drone is Rhet McNeal. He is a 26-year old Marine who graduated in Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Tech. This entire project started off after Mcneal’s proposal won the USMC Logistics Innovation award. That win lead him to apply (and win) 4-month residency at Pier 9 where he finished his design and created The Scout. The rest will, I’m sure, be history…

Anthony Turner