"Making curved shapes on a 3D printer often involves laying down support material which has to be cut away and disposed of at the end.
Printing the support material adds to the cost, slows the process down, generates waste and results in additional work to finish the component where the support has been cut away. The DPG team decided to investigate ways of developing self-supporting printed structures as part of a continuing project to design and develop a fixed wing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, or UAV. Designers used fractal mathematics, which generates repeating patterns, to create an intricate internal structure for the wing, resembling that of an insect, where repeating patterns of veins strengthen the wing, while allowing its surface to remain flexible."
Photo details: "Ischnura senegalensis October 2007" by Laitche. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.