The coolest 3D-printed things at the RAPID conference

Products ranged from UAVs and jet engines to human skull and knee replacements

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From wardrobes to war machines, this year's show did not disappoint

In each of its 26 years, the RAPID Printing & Additive Manufacturing Conference has raised the bar for the level of sophistication of things that can be created using 3D printing techniques. This year's conference in Orlando, Florida, showcased products ranging from military unmanned aerial vehicles and jet engines to human skull and knee replacements and even a full-sized, working R2D2. Here are some of the more interesting and complex objects that were on hand.

Pictured: The world's first 3D-printed UAV

Stratasys and Aurora Flight Sciences manufacture the world’s first 3D-printed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The UAV, which has a 9-foot wingspan and weighs 33 pounds, is 80% 3D printed and was completed in half the time needed by traditional manufacturing methods. The video screen behind the aircraft shows images taken as the UAV was in flight.

Stratasys used its Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process, which relies on production-grade thermoplastics extruded layer by layer on a platform.

The aircraft can reach speeds in excess of 150 mph.

Images and text: Lucas Mearian

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