If you thought 3D printing pens were just interesting toys, here’s something that might change your mind, a freehand 3D printed quadcopter propeller. The way it was made was quite interesting, and would be tough, if not impossible to duplicate with a “traditional” 3D printer. The surface of the original blade was simply traced with a 3D Air Pen to make the basic shape.

After the basic shape is created, the central hub, which needs to be thicker than the blades, is built up using a tracing. After inserting this hub inside the wings, everything has to be “3D glued” together. Some “secondary operations” are then done, including drilling and tapping a hole in the hub, and strengthening and balancing the propeller by adding more material. Finally, everything is deburred with a Dremel tool.

Certainly, if you have the time, it would be much easier to simply order a new propeller, but if you need a replacement right now, this could be a viable option. Interestingly, this isn’t the only aerial contraption I’ve written about for make; for another idea, why not check out an entire model airplane frame printed with a similar device. It was able to fly, but not quite as elegantly as this project.

Jeremy S Cook

Jeremy S Cook

Jeremy is an engineer with 10 years experience at his full-time profession, and has a BSME from Clemson University. Outside of work he’s an avid maker and experimenter, building anything that comes into his mind!

  • Will Lyon

    Should have sanded it THEN balanced it >_<

    • Tomek Brzezinski

      I was about to say the same:D
      Still, an impressive video. First time I’ve been impressed by a 3D printing pen.

      There are a few 3D printers (I have only seen one actually) that can build on a complex curve as opposed to layer by layer, but it’s a fairly impressive operation replicated here with just a hand.

  • Jeremy Frank

    I feel like a good SLA printer could do this no problem

  • greenweb

    Oops just bothered to watch the video – that is awesome !

  • Tait Sougstad

    Also cool and quadcopter-related, from the 3D Air Pen project page.