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Wed, Jul 31, 2013

MakerPlane Plans 'Open Source' LSA

Crowdfunded Aircraft Will Be An Experimental LSA For Homebuilders

When you hear the words "Crowdfunding" and "Open Source", you probably think more about software or advanced technology than LSAs. But MakerPlane is bringing those concepts to the aviation industry with their Experimental LSA (E-LSA).

The crowdfunding is being done through Indiegogo, which allows organizations to raise funds for specific projects through donations, much like the better-known "Kickstarter." MakerPlane has set a 60-day, $75,000 goal to complete the design, perform test flights, and release free, downloadable open source plans that will allow anyone to build the airplane. The money raised will be used for tooling, materials, and time being donated by MakerPlane team members to complete the project.

The aircraft has been designed and optimized to be built on home-based, or "marketspace" CNC equipment, and has features such as slots and tabs to east construction and speed up the assembly process.

"A contribution to MakerPlane goes beyond getting these free plans out to the world. It's a contribution to a movement that is looking to make building aircraft using modern digital home-based manufacturing equipment easy, affordable, and accessible," said John Nicol, the founder of MakerPlane. "We are innovating in many areas, including using 3-D desktop printers for non-structural components like joystick handles and control knobs."

MakerPlane began designing their E-LSA in 2011, and construction of the first prototype airplane is underway.

MakerPlane recently collaborated with the Purdue University Hangar of the Future, where Augmented Reality (AR) applications were developed to support builders. The technology allows novice builders to aim the cameras in their smartphones or tablets at airplane parts and overlay assembly information about the part on the screen. "We have very exciting innovations coming to the homebuilt aircraft market," Nicol said. The airplane is expected to cost about $75,000.

(Image provided by MakerPlane)



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