The Lighter Better UAV with Quickparts

Achieving unprecedented weight-to-strength ratios in the T-Hawk Unmanned Aerial Vehicle with 3D printed production parts by Paramount Industries, now part of 3D Systems Quickparts® Solutions.


3D printed UAV aerospace SLS printingThe T-Hawk unmanned micro air vehicle started life as a DARPA research project to create a small size intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance urban warfare vehicle that weighed just 11 pounds. With vertical take-off and landing, it needed to be easy to carry and set up by a warfighter, require minimum training to use, and have the ability to fly up to 10,000 feet. Honeywell Aerospace partnering with AAI Textron Systems was awarded the project and the development teams knew that very rapid development was a requirement of the project’s success. With this in mind, they approached Paramount, now Quickparts, for expertise in rapid development, prototyping and manufacture of fly-away parts.

Quickparts delivers a rapid service in 3D printed, on-demand parts for manufacturers across every industry and around the world. The team at Quickparts Paramount offers expert aerospace consulting allowing research projects to be rapidly adapted to leverage the advantages of 3D printing. Starting with the creation of prototype and test models of the design, the design teams originally envisaged that many polymer production parts would be either carbon fiber or injection-molded parts, but immediately ran into problems. With early flight testing, the design process was a persistent rapid iterative process – to move from initial concept to LRIP (low rate initial production). Time and budget were constraining - rapid deployment to our
warfighters in theater was a constant requirement.

Click the PDF below to read the full story of how the T-Hawk was taken into production using end-use SLS 3D printed parts, combining several components into single-build assemblies.