The Flying Cam Helicopter is a small unmanned vehicle that carries filming equipment. It has been used in a wealth of commercials and movies, but it is also applied in other sectors; for example traffic management and emergency assistance.
It is highly desirable that the frame of the helicopter is as light as possible. Several directions has been investigated, including a complete redesign based on topology optimization (see below) and different building materials like steel, aluminium and titanium.
The helicopter frame was redesigned based on topology optimization:
- Define outer constraints.
- Remove unnecessary material by topology optimization.
- Inspired by step 2, redesign the frame.
- Verify that the redesign meet the requirements regarding weight, stiffness etc.
Work has been done to minimize or fully automate step 3.
The motor heat sink is also an obvious part to look at when optimizing the helicopter weight. The challenge here is to lower they weight while maintaining (or even improving) the cooling. The solution is to take full advantage of the geometrical freedom of rapid manufacturing and design an advanced internal or external cellular structure, which increase the overall surface area. Several designs have been tested.