This project focuses on developing a flapping-wing hovering insect using 3D-printed wings and mechanical parts. The use of 3D printing technology has greatly expanded the possibilities for wing design, allowing wing shapes to replicate those of real insects or virtually any other shape. It has also reduced the time of a wing design cycle to a matter of minutes. An ornithopter with a mass of 3.89 g has been constructed using the 3D printing technique and has demonstrated an 85-s passively stable untethered hovering flight. This flight exhibits the functional utility of printed materials for flapping-wing experimentation and ornithopter construction and for understanding the mechanical principles underlying insect flight and control.

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Computational Synthesis Laboratory, 239 Upson Hall, Sibley School of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853. E-mail: (C.R.); (H.L.)