Louisiana Tech University team uses 3-D printing, sustainable materials to create UAV

May 4, 2016 by Brandy Mcknight, Louisiana Tech University
From left to right Louisiana Tech students Joseph Hagensee, Colin Dunbar, Keunta Epps and Justin Coe. Credit: Louisiana Tech University

A team of mechanical engineering students from Louisiana Tech University has used 3D printing and sustainable materials to create a custom unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that could help NASA improve its efforts to study UAV applications and establish an infrastructure to enable and safely manage the widespread use of low-altitude airspace.

The four-person team comprised of Justin Coe, Colin Dunbar, Keunta Epps and Joseph Hagensee built the UAV using environmentally friendly and non-traditional engineering materials available at Louisiana Tech.

The collaboration, successfully completed as a senior capstone project under the guidance of Dr. Arden Moore, assistant professor of and molecular science and nanotechnology at Louisiana Tech's Institute for Micromanufacturing, was sponsored by a Louisiana Space Consortium sub-award from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) grant.

Moore says that the team showed skill, not only in designing and building a functioning UAV, but also in doing the background research necessary to do so and in using the equipment available.

"They showed sound engineering judgment throughout the project, and I think the final product exceeded expectations," Moore said.

"A large part of our success was due to our ability to make complex parts using three-dimensional printing, which we were able to do thanks to our program's computer modeling classes and Louisiana Tech's openly accessible 3D printers," Hagensee said.

The students said that in addition to access to cutting-edge equipment, they were able to complete the project thanks to Louisiana Tech's mechanical engineering curriculum and its emphasis on collaboration and hands-on experience.

"The project-based curriculum at Louisiana Tech showed us how to apply what we have learned, to create a successful design," Dunbar said.

"Learning to work in groups is a staple throughout the engineering curriculum at Tech," Epps said. "This experience taught us to work as a cohesive unit, which was a major key to the success in this project."

Coe adds that Moore's expertise and advice was instrumental in the completion of the UAV. "Dr. Moore was the best advisor we could have asked for," Coe said. "He has a lot to do with the success of the project."

The team will present the at the Louisiana Tech College of Engineering and Science Senior Projects Conference on Friday, May 6.

Explore further: Interdisciplinary research at LTU leading to new UAV technologies

Related Stories

LTU engineering students recognized for 'green' research

April 7, 2016

Renata Minullina and Abhishek Panchal, biomedical engineering graduate students from Louisiana Tech University and the Institute for Micromanufacturing (IfM), have won the prestigious Poster Presentation Award at the Polymer ...

Researchers study prevalence, impact of 'serial inventors'

February 17, 2016

Researchers from Louisiana Tech University have published a study on the prevalence and impacts of "serial inventors" - scientist and engineers within university research communities who are particularly inventive and produce ...

Researchers helping NOPD find 'best fit' in new officers

March 3, 2016

AROS, a research and consulting group comprised of faculty and students within Louisiana Tech University's industrial-organizational psychology doctoral program, is partnering with the New Orleans Police Department to develop ...

Recommended for you

Coffee-based colloids for direct solar absorption

March 22, 2019

Solar energy is one of the most promising resources to help reduce fossil fuel consumption and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to power a sustainable future. Devices presently in use to convert solar energy into thermal ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.