FT Technologies launches Graphite AM 3D printed sensor for drones

FT Technologies, a British company specializing in the development and production of ultrasonic wind sensors, has reportedly launched its first drone-specific and 3D printed device.

The FT205 sensor has been 3D printed by fellow British company Graphite Additive Manufacturing (Graphite AM) a specialist service bureau and consultancy firm.

According to Fred Squire, Director of Sales and Marketing at FT Technologies, “The FT205 is the first in a new generation of lightweight ultrasonic wind sensors,”

“The light weight of the FT205 together with the proven FT Acu-Res Technology make it ideal for use on aerial drones and other applications where weight is critical.”

Hydrophobic coating on an FT Technologies ultrasonic wind sensor. Photo via FT TechnologiesHydrophobic coating on an FT Technologies ultrasonic wind sensor. Photo via FT Technologies

The drone anemometer

The FT205 uses acoustic resonance technology to deliver environmental information about the wind speed, direction and temperature, bases on minute vibrations in the device, and an in-built compass. A versatile piece of equipment, it can be plugged into a drone’s input/output communications, mounted on a flat surface, or attached to a pole.

Selective laser sintering (SLS) technology has been used to make the device, achieving a weight of just 100g. According to reports, the material used is a graphite and nylon composite – potentially Graphite AM’s proprietary carbon fiber reinforced PA.

The device works in extreme environments, at a maximum altitude of 4000m and in temperatures between -20 and +70°C.

All variations of the FT205 anemometer. Photos via FT TechnologiesAll variations of the FT205 anemometer. Photos via FT Technologies

3D printing demand

Recently, Graphite AM invested in a new SLS 3D printer for its EXPRESS track customers helping to fulfill growing demand for the service. The 3D Systems sPro™ SLS® Center was delivered to the premises in January 2018, and has been delivering parts on demand for Formula 1 customers.

Graphite AM also has an existing partnership with bespoke industrial drone manufacturer Vulcan UAV, and has been helping the company with the light weighting of its devices.

FT Technologies’ FT205 is designed to aid drone users in environmental projects and to execute more reliable flights.

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Featured image shows a quad drone in flight. Public domain photo via pxhere

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