LPE were delighted to have been able to help local Stage 3 MEng Aerospace Engineering students at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) with their entry into the British Model Flying Association’s Payload Challenge which is due to take place at the start of June 2018.

The goal of the competition is to carry a payload of polystyrene balls around a circuit, land, refill, and then launch again, completing as many laps with as many balls as possible in a six minute time slot.

The QUB student team’s design for the competition involved an innovative carbon fibre frame with 3D printed joints for weight saving purposes. This design posed challenges in terms of the joints used; the material of the joints that the students could print themselves did not have adequate impact strength to withstand a rough landing. If the key load-bearing joints could not withstand a rough landing they would most likely break meaning that the team would have little hope of completing the multiple laps required to win the competition.

As a result, the student team decided to approach LPE to see if they would sponsor the team and print the main load bearing joints in the team’s fuselage structure in a material that would better meet the requirements of the project. Using our selective laser sintering process, LPE were able to produce the joints from our tough functional nylon material. This material has an extremely good impact strength which means that the load bearing joints in the student’s fuselage should be able to withstand the pressure of a rough landing.

Per Jessica Bush, member of the QUB student team, “At the recent test flight, our team’s plane flew and landed successfully with no damage to any joints in the process. This would not have been achieved without the help of LPE and the tough nylon parts that they produced for our project”.

LPE delighted to be able to help local students explore the possibilities of 3d printing and see for themselves the benefits that additive manufacturing offer in terms of design possibilities.

We wish the QUB student team all the best in the competition and look forward to seeing a video of the final flight test!

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