3D CAD, 3D Printing, Aerospace Industry

Let the TriMech Drone Wars Begin!

By Samantha Bild on May 27, 2016


The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones was once limited to the defense industry. Today, drones are sailing everywhere! Anyone in the commercial or private sectors can pick up an off-the-shelf drone or manufacture one with readily available resources.  

With this in mind, we've decided to pit our application engineers and technical teams against each other in the first ever TriMech Drone Wars. Let the games begin! 


In 2015, the first U.S. National Drone Racing competition was held for enthusiasts of all backgrounds. 3D printing has played an important role in this, enabling hobbyists to get involved. In fact, many of the drones at the U.S. National Drone Racing competition were modified with 3D printed parts or entirely 3D printed.

When people think of drones, they typically imagine the standard quadcopter. However, there are only two real specifications that define a drone:

  1. It must be unmanned
  2. It needs the ability to fly


TriMech Drone Wars

Over the next 10 weeks, four teams will study, design and improve an off-the-shelf drone (see below). The drone wars will culminate with all teams meeting at our Richmond headquarters to go head-to-head in competition.  

The competition will consist of the following challenges:

  • A race
  • A precision test where the drone has to fly directly over three locations 
  • A payload test
IMG_20160524_132531.jpg IMG_20160524_132614-1.jpg
"The Drone" 

For each phase, teams will document their methods and share progress with followers across the country!

5 Phase Drone Design Competition



PHASE 1: Teams are delivered an off-the-shelf drone to model and run a FEA study
Phase-2-Icon.png   PHASE 2: Re-design/modifications 
Phase-3-Icon.png   PHASE 3: Performance testing
Phase-4-Icon.png   PHASE 4: Final re-design
Phase-5-Icon.png   PHASE 5: Competition

In addition to above criteria, we will equally weigh the following:

  • Aesthetics
  • Quality of technical content
  • Teamwork

The newly designed drone must contain 3D printed parts and no more than $250 in modifications. Click here to see how Drone Wars Week 1: Part 1 went.

Drone Wars Part 1