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3-D Printing Enables UVA Student-Built Unmanned Plane

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the up-in-the-air-junior-birdman dept.

Transportation 87

In an effort that took four months and $2000, instead of the quarter million dollars and two years they estimate it would have using conventional design methods, a group of University of Virginia engineering students has built and flown an airplane of parts created on a 3-D printer. The plane is 6.5 feet in wingspan, and cruises at 45 mph. I only wish this had been sponsored by Estes or Makerbot rather than the MITRE Corporation; it would be great for every high school or hobbyist group that can scrape together the printing time to have one of these on demand. (HT to Gaël Duval.)

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Right... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41722259)

Because that's what we need in our crowded city airspace, a six foot unmaned aircraft designed and piloted by the same kids that troll video game chat. Um, no.

The engine... (4, Interesting)

drosboro (1046516) | about 2 years ago | (#41722275)

Am I reading correctly that even the engine (a turbofan) was built entirely from 3d-printed parts? Now THAT's cool.

Re:The engine... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41722435)

A scale model of a turbofan was an entirely different project, unrelated to the UAV.

Re:The engine... (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 2 years ago | (#41723569)

A NON-WORKING scale model of a turbofan... can't forget that $2M was spent on a non-working scale model of an engine that doesn't cost much more than that to buy off-the-shelf.

Re:The engine... (3, Funny)

Tough Love (215404) | about 2 years ago | (#41723067)

I wonder who modded this +1 interesting, informative when it really deserves -1, melts.

Big deal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41739737)

6.5 ft wing span and 45 Mph ? You don't need a jet engine for that. Very ordinary by hobby RC standards. Big deal, we have been building them in the garage for decades. Why is 3d Printing them such a cool achievement.

No, they didn't print an engine (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#41722319)

The press release is deceptive. They did not build a working turbofan engine with a 3D printer. They built a plastic scale model of a Rolls Royce turbofan engine [] with a Stratasys 3D printer. It will rotate if powered with compressed air. Rolls Royce gave U of VA a $2 million dollar grant which supported that effort.

The plane itself wasn't printed as one piece. It was more like printing the parts of a plane kit. Very slowly. 80 hour weeks are mentioned. Not sure where the $2000 cost figure comes from, but it doesn't include labor or 3D printer time. Maybe that's just the plastic cost.

Re:No, they didn't print an engine (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41722417)

Yeah, but you read the article and applied more than one neuron to understanding it... Slashdotters will not be impressed by facts or reality. 3D printing will replace every manufacturing and machining technology ever. We will 3D print houses and cars like they were candies from a vending machine.

Re:No, they didn't print an engine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41722587)

laser cutting it from plywood and snapping it together would be too fast, too cheap, too boring...

Re:No, they didn't print an engine (1)

alphatel (1450715) | about 2 years ago | (#41722643)

"printable products" soon to be everywhere, everything.

Re:No, they didn't print an engine (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41722487)

It sounds like the scale model turbofan was where the $2000 number came from, and they say that would have cost $250k to do normally. I assume that means if they'd had the whole thing machined.

It seems they did the (relatively unimpressive) plane as part of an internship program they got because of that previous project. Yeah. Great. You made a big rc plane in your internship program. That's amazing.

I agree... crap summary and press release.

Re:No, they didn't print an engine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41723545)

On top of that, it's not even a particularly large or nice RC plane. You can buy a bigger, nicer, lighter RC airframe for less than $200.

Re:No, they didn't print an engine (1)

iamhassi (659463) | about 2 years ago | (#41722623)

The press release is deceptive.

They didn't build a plane either. They built a radio controlled airplane.
If someone says I built a plane or car or house, I don't think they mean a scale model. The rc plane the spent 80 hours and $2,000+ building could have been bought for a few hundred bucks.

This press release is complete garbage and I'm disappointed this is on /.

Re:No, they didn't print an engine (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41722689)

It's timothy spamming with 3d printing and raspberry pi.

Re:No, they didn't print an engine (2)

cellocgw (617879) | about 2 years ago | (#41722747)

80 hour weeks are mentioned. Not sure where the $2000 cost figure comes from, but it doesn't include labor or 3D printer time.
They are grad students. labor is free. :-(

Re:No, they didn't print an engine (2)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 2 years ago | (#41722823)

To be fair, the article isn't deceptive. The headline is inaccurate and sensationalist, but have you ever met a headline that wasn't? The only thing that's ambiguous is To make a plastic turbofan engine for those who aren't in the airplane business, engine here not referring to the 'motor' but to the type of plane.

Re:No, they didn't print an engine (2)

topham (32406) | about 2 years ago | (#41722985)

As an engineering study of the applicability of printing 3D objects it's somewhat interesting. As to the importance of being able to build an airplane like that for under $2k it's entirely underwhelming. It's pretty easy to make one by hand with a very small collection of components and materials, and it would have taken less time. (So much so that even building a prototype, then dies to pre-cut material to produce the plane more traditionally would have taken less effort).

Re:No, they didn't print an engine (1)

delt0r (999393) | about 2 years ago | (#41726653)

My first RC plane was a similar size. Mostly made by hand from balsa wood and foam, with a plywood firewall for the gas engine and fiberglass matt for the wing root. It took me about 3 months to first flight to build. But then i was working, at school and had parties to go to. I would estimate perhaps 100 to 200 hours build time total.

These days the electric engines look a lot easier to deal with while still having nice performance. The Gas engine was messy with methanol+ 20% oil mix. But then it did give 1HP!

Re:No, they didn't print an engine (1)

SharpFang (651121) | about 2 years ago | (#41727479)

Yep, the primary advance was LiPo batteries. They weight little enough and can provide enough power, that you can make a lawn mower [] fly. In essence, acrobatic model planes don't need -any- lift from their wings, the hull contributing just room for parts and steering, the planes essentially acting as fancy helicopters with vastly overpowered, small rotors.

Different headline (4, Funny)

similar_name (1164087) | about 2 years ago | (#41722347)

3-D Printing Enables UVA student-built UAV

Re:Different headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41722571)

Thank you. I came in specifically looking to see if someone caught this title.

Re:Different headline (2)

jovius (974690) | about 2 years ago | (#41722639)

Coming up: UVA destroyed UVA's UAV.

So let me see (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41722355)

Instead of going to a hobby shop to buy a RTF (ready to fly) RC plane kit with remote for about 500$, they spent several times that amount? OK, and where did that 250K$ figure come from? Is this another one of those masturbatory 3D printing stories where a few parts were made by some rapid prototyping technology, all the other parts were bought off the shelf made the nasty old way, but we are led to believe you can 3D print the whole thing?

And of course, there's never a follow up about how well it performs or how long it lasts.

And now I predict a bunch of nerds that will honestly believe we are less than ten years away from Star Trek replicators.

Re:So let me see (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41722511)

Baby steps, baby steps. To use a car analogy, we are at the horse and buggy stage of 3D printing. In computers, that would be the i4004 stage. Give it time and personal 3D printers -will- become common and useful.

I imagine it will be similar to photo printing. Not everyone has a photo printer, some people still upload their images to a photo-finishing place and let them do the printing. But many people can justify owning a photo printer for various reasons (cost, volume, control, etc.).

Re:So let me see (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41722523)

Comparing information processing technology to material processing technology is ridiculous.

Re:So let me see (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41722555)

Is that the only bit of info that you acquired from the OP? Seriously? Your only take-away?

Re:So let me see (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41725205)

Since that was the only information offered, yes. It was a monumentally moronic comparison.

Re:So let me see (1)

SharpFang (651121) | about 2 years ago | (#41727507)

Yeah, a detailed printout of a photo on a fancy glossy paper, all with less than $50 in hardware costs is definitely just result of information processing. No material processing technology here, none, nada.

Eheh (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 2 years ago | (#41723355)

Welcome to the past, can I introduce you to a machine that allows you to manufacture at home at a greatly reduced price items we all need everyday (expect perverts)? Yes, it is the SOWING MACHINE!!! Tada!

No more reliance on the clothing industry and their child labour practices and outrageous markups, you design your own pattern or use one of the countless free ones available, experiment as much as you want and have your own clothes as you want them, when you want them for a fraction of the price.

And this AMAZING tech is SO amazing, that it is slowly dying out as the general population says "what, make my own and spend all that time when I can just spend 10 times as much and get crappy made clothes that everyone else has?".

3d printing seems to have it uses but those looking for a revolution better ask themselves, "do I make my own clothes"?

no? Then why would you make your own... stuff that is entirely made out of plastic or easily available tiny parts?

Did you know there used to be stores that sold nothing buttons?

An industry catering to makers did once exist. And it is dying out or dead already.


Sowing machines are now used for prototyping and repairs. Gosh, could this be the market for 3d printing as well? Nah, surely people ain't that lazy! Nothing like coming home at the end of the day, noticing you ran out of sporks and printing out a new batch. How much stuff do you own that can actually be printed completely from scratch where color or type of plastic don't matter and time between need and finished printing is acceptable?

even this plane shows the weakness, I seen people make model boats completely from scratch by hand do it faster.And that includes the metal and rope work. Yes, I know some sad people. I am one of them.

Re:Eheh (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#41723551)

Yes, it is the SOWING MACHINE!!!

Invented by Jethro Tull. Bet you didn't know that.

Re:Eheh (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about 2 years ago | (#41727397)

Yes, it is the SOWING MACHINE!!!

Invented by Jethro Tull. Bet you didn't know that.

His flute teacher told him to put his foot down, again and again and again...


Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41723903)

SEWING - that's about stitching things together with thread
SOWING - that's about planting seed in the ground.


SharpFang (651121) | about 2 years ago | (#41727541)

Yes, I suddenly boggled how a Seed Drill [] allows me to manufacture at home. Sure it helps manufacture food, but items we need every day?

Re:Eheh (1)

Stoutlimb (143245) | about 2 years ago | (#41724153)

When a SEWING machine can take 10 hours to make an outfit without much skill or interaction in the process, expect to see a resurgence in SEWING machines.

Like 3D printers? (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 2 years ago | (#41726361)

Show me a 3d printer that can create anything remote useful at the press of a button.

And at the end, you had near robotic sewing machines, capable of being programmed to do all kinds of stuff.

If you didn't look down on "women's work", you could see some amazing similarities between the idea of 3d printing and making clothes from scratch. But that would mean acknowledging that its appeal is limited. And designer clothes are expensive, an egg holder cup isn't.

Outside prototyping and repear, I can't see a future for 3d printing. I can't see anything worth more then a few cents that isn't make out of more then just plastic and screws where just buying it isn't far far easier. But hey, keep dreaming, maybe you can come up with a reason every household should own a 3d printer.

Re:Like 3D printers? (1)

jaymemaurice (2024752) | about 2 years ago | (#41726515)

Never under-estimate the stupidity of consumers... I mean, we will probably end up with tassimo style 3d printers that you put in a pod of plastic and end up with forks/straws etc... not because it was a good idea or that tassimo machines make better/easier/cheaper coffees then a real espresso maker... but because consumers are stupid.

Re:Like 3D printers? (1)

Shotgun (30919) | about 2 years ago | (#41730113)

Cost isn't the issue.
Buying it isn't the issue.

Finding it, purchasing it, and then waiting on it is the issue.

You used to have to go downtown to the theater and take a whole evening to watch a movie.
The we progressed to going to a video store and browsing for half an hour to find a movie to watch for the evening.
Now, we sit in our jammies and pick something from the Netflix menu, or maybe choose something from RedBox and pick it up when we make a beer run.

Being able to download a 3D file, make some adjustments/enhancements/personalizations and then print the birthday gift when your late to the party already will sell a tone of 3D printers.

they have high tech sewing machines these days (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 2 years ago | (#41726935) []

LCD screens etc.. USB, scanners etc... dude, not everyone is rich, some people even teenagers do make their own stuff. $5 of material can make a $100 dress. There is a resurgence of 'make it yourself' crowd these days.

i want a clothes printer (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 2 years ago | (#41726919)

I wouldnt mind a clothes printer, even if it has to tell me by voice, to place each cloth in manually.

Example for 3d printers would be better if there were a larger library of 3d objects. Like printing a missing jigsaw piece to a puzzle, or printing iphone cases.
or keys from photos. or ??

Re:So let me see (1)

Shotgun (30919) | about 2 years ago | (#41730043)

As further support, I still remember the first computer printer I ever saw. It was as large as an armoir, and shook the building when it printed. The print head looked like it was taken straight from and IBM Selectric typewriter. It took several minutes to print a page, and it ONLY did text.

That was less than thirty years ago, when very few people even realized that other people had computers in their homes.

3D printers everywhere are inevitable.

Re:So let me see (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 2 years ago | (#41722539)

Some singularitard will no doubt point out that people in Victorian times thought it was impossible to travel on a railway locomotive at more than 10 mph without suffocating[1], or some other retarded shit. Which apparently proves that anything that was ever thought impossible is not only possible but inevitable.

[1] This is clearly bollocks anyway, a horse can go much faster than that. Plus winds reach over a hundred mph and people can still breathe.

Re:So let me see (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41722903)

Which apparently proves that anything that was ever thought impossible is not only possible but inevitable.

Well, if you can prove otherwise, we would love to hear it. What you are saying that if some 'scientific' authority claims something is impossible, we would be insane to make the attempt. Well, I say, thank goodness for the 'crazy' people who tell the authorities to stuff it. The naysayers are the retarded ones.

Re:So let me see (2)

JWSmythe (446288) | about 2 years ago | (#41722543)

    I was surprised that they went with the typical high wing trainer. On the other hand, going with something well known and very reliable was a good idea to verify that they method works.

    Spending $2k on a $500 project does seem silly. Skimming the article, they are mechanical engineering students. It would be more applicable to aeronautical engineering students, to prototype new types of aircraft.

    Judging by the picture, they may have gone a little heavy on the wings and fuselage. Mechanically, it was probably stronger than the need, which is a good idea. For aeronautical purposes, it was probably overkill. But hey, it flies, and that's what counts. :)

    I would love to see more on the project than the article. It's kind of light on details.

Re:So let me see (1)

Slugster (635830) | about 2 years ago | (#41723337)

Yea I don't get it either....?

Military contractors would spend $250K because there would be $250K to spend. (-I am not in that industry, but know something of how it works-)

There's cheap RC planes already from normal methods, but the best (lightest, strongest) ones are still fiber-oriented composites,,,, that 3D printing still can't do.

Just a school blowing smoke I suppose.

estes will likely do this in China. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41722405)

Long ago, Estes became a Chinese company.

Nobody Seems To Notice and Nobody Seems To Care (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41722451)

Nobody Seems To Notice and Nobody Seems To Care - Government & Stealth Malware

In Response To Slashdot Article: Former Pentagon Analyst: China Has Backdoors To 80% of Telecoms 87

How many rootkits does the US[2] use officially or unofficially?

How much of the free but proprietary software in the US spies on you?

Which software would that be?

Visit any of the top freeware sites in the US, count the number of thousands or millions of downloads of free but proprietary software, much of it works, again on a proprietary Operating System, with files stored or in transit.

How many free but proprietary programs have you downloaded and scanned entire hard drives, flash drives, and other media? Do you realize you are giving these types of proprietary programs complete access to all of your computer's files on the basis of faith alone?

If you are an atheist, the comparison is that you believe in code you cannot see to detect and contain malware on the basis of faith! So you do believe in something invisible to you, don't you?

I'm now going to touch on a subject most anti-malware, commercial or free, developers will DELETE on most of their forums or mailing lists:

APT malware infecting and remaining in BIOS, on PCI and AGP devices, in firmware, your router (many routers are forced to place backdoors in their firmware for their government) your NIC, and many other devices.

Where are the commercial or free anti-malware organizations and individual's products which hash and compare in the cloud and scan for malware for these vectors? If you post on mailing lists or forums of most anti-malware organizations about this threat, one of the following actions will apply: your post will be deleted and/or moved to a hard to find or 'deleted/junk posts' forum section, someone or a team of individuals will mock you in various forms 'tin foil hat', 'conspiracy nut', and my favorite, 'where is the proof of these infections?' One only needs to search Google for these threats and they will open your malware world view to a much larger arena of malware on devices not scanned/supported by the scanners from these freeware sites. This point assumed you're using the proprietary Microsoft Windows OS. Now, let's move on to Linux.

The rootkit scanners for Linux are few and poor. If you're lucky, you'll know how to use chkrootkit (but you can use strings and other tools for analysis) and show the strings of binaries on your installation, but the results are dependent on your capability of deciphering the output and performing further analysis with various tools or in an environment such as Remnux Linux. None of these free scanners scan the earlier mentioned areas of your PC, either! Nor do they detect many of the hundreds of trojans and rootkits easily available on popular websites and the dark/deep web.

Compromised defenders of Linux will look down their nose at you (unless they are into reverse engineering malware/bad binaries, Google for this and Linux and begin a valuable education!) and respond with a similar tone, if they don't call you a noob or point to verifying/downloading packages in a signed repo/original/secure source or checking hashes, they will jump to conspiracy type labels, ignore you, lock and/or shuffle the thread, or otherwise lead you astray from learning how to examine bad binaries. The world of Linux is funny in this way, and I've been a part of it for many years. The majority of Linux users, like the Windows users, will go out of their way to lead you and say anything other than pointing you to information readily available on detailed binary file analysis.

Don't let them get you down, the information is plenty and out there, some from some well known publishers of Linux/Unix books. Search, learn, and share the information on detecting and picking through bad binaries. But this still will not touch the void of the APT malware described above which will survive any wipe of r/w media. I'm convinced, on both *nix and Windows, these pieces of APT malware are government in origin. Maybe not from the US, but most of the 'curious' malware I've come across in poisoned binaries, were written by someone with a good knowledge in English, some, I found, functioned similar to the now well known Flame malware. From my experience, either many forum/mailing list mods and malware developers/defenders are 'on the take', compromised themselves, and/or working for a government entity.

Search enough, and you'll arrive at some lone individuals who cry out their system is compromised and nothing in their attempts can shake it of some 'strange infection'. These posts receive the same behavior as I said above, but often they are lone posts which receive no answer at all, AT ALL! While other posts are quickly and kindly replied to and the 'strange infection' posts are left to age and end up in a lost pile of old threads.

If you're persistent, the usual challenge is to, "prove it or STFU" and if the thread is not attacked or locked/shuffled and you're lucky to reference some actual data, they will usually attack or ridicule you and further drive the discussion away from actual proof of APT infections.

The market is ripe for an ambitious company or individual to begin demanding companies and organizations who release firmware and design hardware to release signed and hashed packages and pour this information into the cloud, so everyone's BIOS is checked, all firmware on routers, NICs, and other devices are checked, and malware identified and knowledge reported and shared openly.

But even this will do nothing to stop backdoored firmware (often on commercial routers and other networked devices of real importance for government use - which again opens the possibility of hackers discovering these backdoors) people continue to use instead of refusing to buy hardware with proprietary firmware/software.

Many people will say, "the only safe computer is the one disconnected from any network, wireless, wired, LAN, internet, intranet" but I have seen and you can search yourself for and read about satellite, RF, temperature, TEMPEST (is it illegal in your part of the world to SHIELD your system against some of these APT attacks, especially TEMPEST? And no, it's not simply a CRT issue), power line and many other attacks which can and do strike computers which have no active network connection, some which have never had any network connection. Some individuals have complained they receive APT attacks throughout their disconnected systems and they are ridiculed and labeled as a nutter. The information exists, some people have gone so far as to scream from the rooftops online about it, but they are nutters who must have some serious problems and this technology with our systems could not be possible.

I believe most modern computer hardware is more powerful than many of us imagine, and a lot of these systems swept from above via satellite and other attacks. Some exploits take advantage of packet radio and some of your proprietary hardware. Some exploits piggyback and unless you really know what you're doing, and even then... you won't notice it.

Back to the Windows users, a lot of them will dismiss any strange activity to, "that's just Windows!" and ignore it or format again and again only to see the same APT infected activity continue. Using older versions of sysinternals, I've observed very bizarre behavior on a few non networked systems, a mysterious chat program running which doesn't exist on the system, all communication methods monitored (bluetooth, your hard/software modems, and more), disk mirroring software running[1], scans running on different but specific file types, command line versions of popular Windows freeware installed on the system rather than the use of the graphical component, and more.

[1] In one anonymous post on pastebin, claiming to be from an intel org, it blasted the group Anonymous, with a bunch of threats and information, including that their systems are all mirrored in some remote location anyway.

[2] Or other government, US used in this case due to the article source and speculation vs. China. This is not to defend China, which is one messed up hell hole on several levels and we all need to push for human rights and freedom for China's people. For other, freer countries, however, the concentration camps exist but you wouldn't notice them, they originate from media, mostly your TV, and you don't even know it. As George Carlin railed about "Our Owners", "nobody seems to notice and nobody seems to care".

[3] [] []

Try this yourself on a wide variety of internet forums and mailing lists, push for malware scanners to scan more than files, but firmware/BIOS. See what happens, I can guarantee it won't be pleasant, especially with APT cases.

So scan away, or blissfully ignore it, but we need more people like RMS[3] in the world. Such individuals tend to be eccentric but their words ring true and clear about electronics and freedom.

I believe we're mostly pwned, whether we would like to admit it or not, blind and pwned, yet fiercely holding to misinformation, often due to lack of self discovery and education, and "nobody seems to notice and nobody seems to care".


Schneier has covered it before: power line fluctuations (differences on the wire in keys pressed).

There's thermal attacks against cpus and temp, also:

ENF (google it)

A treat (ENF Collector in Java):

sourceforge dot net fwdslash projects fwdslash nfienfcollector

No single antimalware scanner exists which offers the ability to scan (mostly proprietary) firmware on AGP/PCI devices (sound cards, graphics cards, usb novelty devices excluding thumb drives), BIOS/CMOS.

If you boot into ultimate boot cd you can use an archane text interface to dump BIOS/CMOS and examine/checksum.

The real attacks which survive disk formats and wipes target your PCI devices and any firmware which may be altered/overwritten with something special. It is not enough to scan your hard drive(s) and thumb drives, the real dangers with teeth infect your hardware devices.

When is the last time you:

Audited your sound card for malware?
Audited your graphics card for malware?
Audited your network card for malware?

Google for:

* AGP and PCI rootkit(s)
* Network card rootkit(s)
* BIOS/CMOS rootkit(s)

Our modern PC hardware is capable of much more than many can imagine.

Do you:

* Know your router's firmware may easily be replaced on a hacker's whim?
* Shield all cables against leakage and attacks
* Still use an old CRT monitor and beg for TEMPEST attacks?
* Use TEMPEST resistant fonts in all of your applications including your OS?
* Know whether or not your wired keyboard has keypresses encrypted as they pass to your PC from the keyboard?
* Use your PC on the grid and expose yourself to possible keypress attacks?
* Know your network card is VERY exploitable when plugged into the net and attacked by a hard core blackhat or any vicious geek with the know how?
* Search out informative papers on these subjects and educate your friends and family about these attacks?
* Contact antimalware companies and urge them to protect against many or all these attacks?

Do you trust your neighbors? Are they all really stupid when it comes to computing or is there a geek or two without a conscience looking to exploit these areas?

The overlooked threat are the potential civilian rogues stationed around you, especially in large apartment blocks who feed on unsecured wifi to do their dirty work.

With the recent news of Russian spies, whether or not this news was real or a psyop, educate yourself on the present threats which all antimalware scanners fail to protect against and remove any smug mask you may wear, be it Linux or OpenBSD, or the proprietary Windows and Mac OS you feel are properly secured and not vulnerable to any outside attacks because you either don't need an antivirus scanner (all are inept to serious attacks) or use one or several (many being proprietary mystery machines sending data to and from your machine for many reasons, one is to share your information with a group or set database to help aid in threats), the threats often come in mysterious ways.

Maybe the ancients had it right: stone tablets and their own unique language(s) rooted in symbolism.


I'm more concerned about new rootkits which target PCI devices, such as the graphics card and the optical drives, also, BIOS. Where are the malware scanners which scan PCI devices and BIOS for mismatches? All firmware, BIOS and on PCI devices should be checksummed and saved to match with others in the cloud, and archived when the computer is first used, backing up signed firmware.

When do you recall seeing signed router firmware upgrades with any type of checksum to check against? Same for PCI devices and optical drives and BIOS.

Some have begun with BIOS security: [] []

Some BIOS has write protection in its configuration, a lot of newer computers don't.


"Disconnect your PC from the internet and don't add anything you didn't create yourself. It worked for the NOC list machine in Mission Impossible"

The room/structure was likely heavily shielded, whereas most civvies don't shield their house and computer rooms. There is more than meets the eye to modern hardware.


subversion hack:

network card rootkits and trojans
pci rootkits
packet radio
xmit "fm fingerprinting" software
"specific emitter identification"

how many malware scanners scan bios/cmos and pci/agp cards for malware? zero, even the rootkit scanners. have you checksummed/dumped your bios/cmos and firmware for all your pci/agp devices and usb devices, esp vanity usb devices in and outside the realm of common usb devices (thumbdrives, external hdds, printers),

Unless your computer room is shielded properly, the computers may still be attacked and used, I've personally inspected computers with no network connection running mysterious code in the background which task manager for windows and the eqiv for *nix does not find, and this didn't find it all.

Inspect your windows boot partition in *nix with hexdump and look for proxy packages mentioned along with command line burning programs and other oddities. Computers are more vulnerable than most would expect.

You can bet all of the malware scanners today, unless they are developed by some lone indy coder in a remote country, employ whitelisting of certain malware and none of them scan HARDWARE devices apart from the common usb devices.

Your network cards, sound cards, cd/dvd drives, graphics cards, all are capable of carrying malware to survive disk formatting/wiping.

Boot from a Linux live cd and use hexdump to examine your windows (and *nix) boot sectors to potentially discover interesting modifications by an unknown party.


Oops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41722499)

Guess who just made their way onto a whole bunch of goverment watch lists!

Doesn't look too special (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41722509)

Looks fairly conventional for an R/C airplane, like you could probably build the same design from mostly balsa and light ply. I would have thought the benefit of 3d printing would have allowed more complex shapes and a bit more optimized structural design. I wonder how the physical characteristics of the material compares to balsa or even fiberglass, and how much time it actually takes to print out and assemble another one now that they have everything worked out.

Re:Doesn't look too special (2)

hot soldering iron (800102) | about 2 years ago | (#41723017)

I think that this is more a "proof of concept" for the METHOD, more than it was for making experimental UAVs. Just because it's old hat for you doesn't mean the sponsoring corporation doesn't need testing and trial runs made. This is fantastic for people that need to deal with "empirical data and experience", not theoretical. Theoretical extrapolation of technology won't convince the FAA to let you put your parts on a type-certified aircraft. FAA are mostly old engineers that don't trust new technology until it's been tested for about 20 years.

Re:Doesn't look too special (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about 2 years ago | (#41727553)

I think that this is more a "proof of concept" for the METHOD, more than it was for making experimental UAVs.

Absolutely. They will build thousands of devices using this method, especially being able to transmit parts digitally to the field.

When you want something built, come see me. If you want correct grammar and spelling, get a F*ing liberal arts student.

If you would like something built, then you can come and see me. If you would like correct grammar and, spelling then get a fucking liberal arts student.

Censorship is almost as offensive as political correctness, besides you shouldn't capitalise the F in fucking cause it looks fucking stupid, unless of course you meant 'get Fucking a liberal arts student' in which case it's probably ok.

RC Airplanes are cheap (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41722591)

So, they spent months and hundreds (thousands?) of manhours to 3-D print an RC airplane that I can buy in kit form made out of balsa wood for $50. No doubt a good project for the students, but nothing groundbreaking. I guess it's fun to use a 3-D printer, but my guess is that this model is heavier and under-performs one made with traditional RC airplane materiel. They would have been a lot more productive using hot wire cutters on EPP with carbon fiber wrap, or regular old balsa wood and Xacto knifes.

Re:RC Airplanes are cheap (1)

SharpFang (651121) | about 2 years ago | (#41727759)

Actually, I believe the man-hours projecting the thing were *less* than projecting and making the first prototype of a buyable kit that sells for $50.

And then the production itself not only took minimal man-hours (pour more powder, dust off printed parts, assemble them like LEGO, run more printing overnight). The effort replicating the plane - building a second one - would be VASTLY less than assembly of the $50 kit or toying with hot wire cutters and Xacto knives. Not to mention cost far less than $2k, with all the prototype stage mistakes ironed out. Probably more than $50 but that's a matter of raw materials price dropping and projecting models that are economically viable, as opposed to proof-of-concept that flies and doesn't break.

Yes, it's not ground-breaking. We knew it's possible and someone making it was only a matter of time. It's kinda cool that it was done. Though I'm still waiting for a really affordable and truly self-replicating rep-rap...

Interesting as demo of 3D printing, but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41722597) can build similiar plane with CNC hot wire cutting over weekend for about $100 (including design)....

Re:Interesting as demo of 3D printing, but... (1)

SuperMooCow (2739821) | about 2 years ago | (#41722951)

Probably including the hot wire cutting machine too, if you shop around the used motors and controllers.

Parts Spec (4, Interesting)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | about 2 years ago | (#41722619)

I think it would be interesting for the Maker community to come out with some part specs for this. Think a standard body and motor mounting structure that have interfaces to take different wing configurations, tail configurations, even wheels and whatnot. Kinda like an API for a plane model where you have a few basic standardized parts and you can then print out all manner of different things to try that just basically bolt onto those standards. They could probably do much the same for the quatro/hexa copters as well. Hell, there's probably a ton of applications that would benefit from a library of standard parts that you can build on.

Re:Parts Spec (1)

delt0r (999393) | about 2 years ago | (#41726657)

Unfortunately it mostly wouldn't work. For the inside and perhaps engine it could kinda work. But even then they would have to have the same weight and weight distribution. Airframes need to be fairly well balanced for decent performance. That means the wings need to provide lift at the same place as all the weight is effectively distributed. Thus there is not much you could change without needing to change everything.

Once it was new ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41722657)

if it involved 'a computer', then it was new it it involved 'the internet', now it is new if it involves a '3d printer'

Next up.. (1)

pouar (2629833) | about 2 years ago | (#41722673)

copyright trolls from commercial airports demand that DRM be placed on 3D printers to prevent people from making these, claiming lost profits

Re:Next up.. (3, Interesting)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#41723109)

No. Next up will be a report from MITRE showing how a UAV can be built cheaply and what its capabilities for combat or surveillance are. As a result, 3-D printers and related technology will be placed on lists of export restricted equipment. And lists of people who own or attempt to purchase listed equipment will be turned over to the FBI for further scrutiny.

Re:Next up.. (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about 2 years ago | (#41727583)

dammit, I posted before moderating... MOD PARENT UP

In other words ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41731587)

... if you build commercial or hobby grade 3-D printers, move your production to China. Now. Or you'll lose your international markets.

Re:Next up.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41724177)

How do you figure? Commercial airports make their money from landing fees and mooring fees. If anything they'd encourage people to print their own planes so that they can increase their profits.

Re:copyright trolls (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 2 years ago | (#41724383)

They just had that article about a week or so ago, where something nice from a 3d printer got locked up by the car companies.

Great start (1)

sunfly (1248694) | about 2 years ago | (#41722719)

The shape of many of today's planes has a lot to do with buildability. This is a great start, but I hope once they a happy with the printing, they move on to more creative plane designs. To those asking "why", the correct answer is to learn. Baby steps.

MakerBot? Seriously? (2)

sirwired (27582) | about 2 years ago | (#41722845)

To be blunt, the MakerBot is a "toy" 3D printer, capable of producing nothing more than small, low-quality, toys. It's imprecise and produces rather crude pieces. It's not bad for a build-it-yourself kit, and the price isn't bad at all, but as far as 3D printers go overall... well, you get what you pay for. The build platform is small, the tolerances poor, and the finished pieces rather rough.

You can make some REALLY nice stuff with 3D printing. You can't with the MakerBot. To see what's really possible, check out The stuff there (user-submitted designs printed on professional printers) is light-years ahead of the MakerBot. I, myself, got the world's best D&D dice there, printed with Stainless Steel and a bronze finish.

Re:MakerBot? Seriously? (1)

WillHirsch (2511496) | about 2 years ago | (#41723261)

I, myself, got the world's best D&D dice there, printed with Stainless Steel and a bronze finish.

Sums up the scope for mass-market applications of 3D printing really... upgrade to professional equipment and get small, HIGH-quality toys!

Touche (1)

sirwired (27582) | about 2 years ago | (#41726933)


In all seriousness, you have it about right. 3D printing is still only good for things that can exist in isolation. Once one thing has to fit with another to tight tolerances, it's rough going... At best, 3D printed tolerances are a couple centuries behind modern tooling. That said, things are advancing rapidly.

However, the output of a MakerBot is so poor, it'd make the most ham-handed 18th century mold-maker hang his head in shame... although he'd be green with envy at how fast it can produce what it is capable of making. Pro-quality printers can produce pieces that are about even with what you can make with even modern sandcasting; maybe a little better... they require extensive file-work to fit together in a precision assembly, but can serve as an acceptable starting point for that re-work. Of course, we won't discuss how well such parts would hold together...

Re:Touche (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41732955)

There is at least the formlabs' Form 1 that addresses most of the quality issue (yeah, still plastic). Home 3D printers will always be prototyping or quick repair or model/mold making for creation with traditional methods. If I were to make some pricey D&D dice and had a home 3D printer, I would print them there first, tweak the design as desired, and THEN send it to the manufacturing house.

Home 3D printers are home printers. Shapeways and others are the giant plotters and Epson canvas printers of the 2D world. Home printers are meant for low-yield or draft quality (or both). For the same reason people have home 2d printers, they will have 3d printers.

Re:Touche (1)

WillHirsch (2511496) | about 2 years ago | (#41735371)

For the same reason people have home 2d printers, they will have 3d printers.

The reason people have home 2D printers is because they generate a huge amount of 2D data, some of which sometimes needs to be copied onto paper. Most data we put to paper is generated very soon before we print it, and the time we have to wait for it matters because once it is printed we usually spend very little time consuming it before disposing of it or filing it away.

We do not generate large amounts of 3D data, especially not the kind that we need to create in a physical form, and especially not the kind that is needed at short notice.

The applications you list (prototyping, repair, modelmaking and molding) are things that 90% of people would never do at home, and those that would will find in perpetuity that (unless they have a hobby that involves high-volume manufacture of one-off objects) on the rare occasions when they do want something made, the nearest commercial 3D printing service will be a more satisfactory solution than the more expensive, poorer quality, and most likely slower, 3D printer they could have cluttering up their home.

Re:MakerBot? Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41725305)

the problem is patents. As soon as one of these "toy" 3D Printers advertises itself as "pro" and don fancy "controlled environment" 3d-printing like a heated chamber, Stratapro or any other big boys will sue them into oblivion. Happened once (can't find who it was.. anyone can help?) and will happen again.

Sponsored by MITRE? (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 years ago | (#41723019)

So, for $2000 did they include weapons hardpoints?

Help Me (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41723045)

Alright, somebody help me here. Please?

Other than the involvement of a very expensive 3D printer, what's the big deal? At $2000 this thing is hugely expensive. Especially when you consider that the $2000 does not seem to include labor hours or printer time.

Meanwhile, Hobby King has almost ready to fly trainers of similar size and design for $210 [] .

So, what is the point? What is so great about this, other than personal accomplishment and a 3D printer?

Re:Help Me (2)

WillHirsch (2511496) | about 2 years ago | (#41723303)

Simple... it's because just like powered flight in the early 20th century meant we would eventually all be driving flying cars everywhere, the development of a hands-free, any-geometry manufacturing process means we will soon be 3D printing all our material needs at home faster than they can be distributed to us from centres of mass manufacture.

Re:Help Me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41723683)

Don't you realize what this means?

I'll be able to print my own flying car. At last!

Captcha says "ravings". How doe sit know?

only the third time (1)

Cyko_01 (1092499) | about 2 years ago | (#41723525)

From TFA:

It achieved a cruising speed of 45 mph and is only the third 3-D printed plane known to have been built and flown.

So.....not really news then is it

What? (0)

hduff (570443) | about 2 years ago | (#41723849)

I though UVA was supposed to be a party school. They do actual science there? Who knew?

So where is the big news here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41724325)

This is not a UAV, it is a model airplane. It may not sound as sexy as UAV however...

RC model airplanes are NC cut from wood and carbon fiber parts for quite some time. Replacing those parts by elements printed by a 3D printer is rather straightforward. No quantum leap in thinking required.

Similar planes can be constructed in a few weeks on spare time. Been there, done that.

Re:So where is the big news here? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 2 years ago | (#41724769)

An RC model airplane is a UAV. Unless you squeeze a person into it of course...

Re:So where is the big news here? (1)

aXis100 (690904) | about 2 years ago | (#41725079)

The "A" part of "UAV" only work for about 30 seconds when you take your hands of the sticks. Shortly afterwards, it will be "re-kitted" as it ploughs into a tree at 45mph.

Re:So where is the big news here? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 2 years ago | (#41725583)

So what? Nothing about a UAV requires any sort of autonomous operation.

Re:So where is the big news here? (1)

aXis100 (690904) | about 2 years ago | (#41725783)

Hmm, sorry, I was convinced that the A stood for "autonomous", in order to differntiate themselves from RC aircraft.

Apparantly I was wrong and some sales jerk/researcher just wanted to make fancy new acronym without adding any value.

Re:So where is the big news here? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 2 years ago | (#41725865)

To be fair "How about a $2 billion program to build some remote control planes" might have been a harder sell :)

Re:So where is the big news here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41726411)

The "A" part of "UAV" only work for about 30 seconds when you take your hands of the sticks. Shortly afterwards, it will be "re-kitted" as it ploughs into a tree at 45mph.

Unless it has an autopilot. Get with the times dude. Autonomous flying vehicles are already here.

BAT3DP (1)

Baldrson (78598) | about 2 years ago | (#41725393)

Someone should immediately notify the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and 3D Printing.

Not impressive, Uk did it better two years ago (1)

Thomas Charron (1485) | about 2 years ago | (#41728689)

Their design looks like they really just took an existing model, and sliced it up to be printable. Not really all that impresive, personally. []

That one is from two years ago, and more interesting.

You are all missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41731909)

If the goal was to just make an RC plane cheaper, it could obviously be done cheaper out of wood. These guys are clearly not stupid, so they had a different goal in mind.

I've heard about this project locally at UVA and seen the plane in the window, and the key is that the parts snap together with little assembly, so making repeated planes is a lot quicker than the traditional RC method. Design changes are just a 5 minute CAD change away and then the designer can sit back while they print.

Also, one of their goals was to imitate a particular balsa-made RC Plane for some other software project, hence why the outside shown in the picture is not all that spectacular. Since plastic is much denser than the balsa, the internal structure is pretty creative to prevent them from ending up with an non-flying paperweight. The other printed UAVs were designed specifically to favor the technology, not the other way around and I'm not sure how much they cost. That gives it a little flavor.

Overall it was a cool project and an excellent job for just a couple of third-year undergrads over the summer.

I can make one just with foam and knife! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41737237)

I can make one just with foam and knife! Who in the hell need 3d printer for this?!!!

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