Pontoon Prototype for ARTeMIS

ARTeMIS is a project of the students in the Honors Advanced Computer Science class. They want to program a Parrot AR.Drone to follow an ESD Crew boat and record information about rowing technique. Read their blog about ARTeMIS

They are designing pontoons for the quadcopter in case it makes an emergency water landing. Here it is in their words:

We knew from the beginning that we would need the drone to float just in case it made an emergency landing in the water while following us rowing. Recently, we discovered that we could use a 3D printer to create 4 pontoons that would be placed on the bottom of the drone. To create an efficient and lightweight pontoon, we had to learn how to create a computer model and print it.

After successfully printing a small ball, we printed a rounded pontoon measuring 1.5 x 2 x 4 cm. However, when it was submerged in water it had a noticeable leak that would sink the drone fairly quickly. The crack in the plastic was along a seam where the the print head started a new layer. To try and fix this, we changed the layer height to .20 mm from .30 mm and printed another prototype. After testing it, the leak was reduced to a tiny trickle that we deemed wasn’t detrimental to the overall structure. Reducing the layer height even more to .10 mm should eliminate the leak.

Another dilemma that we were facing was how the pcduino was going to attach to the drone. We haven’t given it a whole lot of thought until we discovered just how much we could do with the printer. Now we have decided that we will try to do away with the standard styrofoam outdoor hull in favor of a lightweight plastic one that we print. This will allow us to create a hull that will cover the battery of the drone, but also house the pcduino and any other accessories that we end up using. We have yet to print a prototype hull as creating an accurate model that will fit has proven difficult.

The 3D printing will prove to be a huge help in reaching our goal. We can now be more efficient and can create any part that we may need. Here are a few pictures of the printer and a prototype pontoon:

Pontoon1pontoon2

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