“We want more people to safely and quickly build and fly their own airplanes.”
From the MakerPlane Project Overview:
“MakerPlane is an open source aviation project which will enable people to build and fly their own safe, high quality, reasonable cost plane using advanced personal manufacturing equipment such as CNC mills and 3D printers. The project will also include open source avionics software to enable state-of-the-art digital flight instruments and display capabilities.
Basically we are designing an aircraft that can be built on a computer controlled mill at home, or at a makerspace which is easy to assemble and quick to build. The plans and instructions will be available for free to anyone that wants them!”
In more detail:
“Using low cost digital manufacturing technologies, people will be able to build their dream aircraft quickly, safely and at low cost.
Over 60% of amateur homebuilt aircraft are abandoned before they are completed. That represents 10?s of thousands of aircraft that will never fly and many hundreds of millions of wasted dollars. There are many reasons for this, including extremely complicated plans and instructions, lack of builder support, thousands of hours needed to build and manufacturers and plans designers going under or passing away. Worldwide there are less than 80,000 registered aircraft that fit into the amateur homebuilding category. These startling findings are gleaned from more than 12 months of research by the founder of MakerPlane, John Nicol.
“I was surprised by the facts. Like many, I thought that it was straight forward to purchase a kit or set of plans and believed the hype that you could use a fairly standard set of household tools to finish your own plane”, said John Nicol, “The truth is, is that it is hard to build an aircraft and it takes time.”
MakerPlane is the first open source aviation company. Their first open source aircraft is a community designed two seat Light Sport Aircraft. Led by an aeronautical engineer volunteer, Jeffrey Meyer, based in Israel and contributors all over the world, it is expected that the design will be complete within the next 12 months. A flying prototype is expected at AirVenture, Oshkosh in 2014.
One of the unique features is that MakerPlane aircraft are designed specifically for building on a computer controlled router, manufactured either at home, or at a local “makerspace”. They will also be providing the electronic files needed for the equipment to cut out the parts. “The time savings are immense. A wing rib can be cut out on a CNC machine in a matter of two or three minutes, instead of the current two or three hours using traditional methods. Our build process will include simple step by step build and assembly instructions, videos and animations. We are hoping to minimize text as much as possible.”
Many people are familiar with open source software such as Mozilla Firefox and Redhat Linux; these important programs are designed, developed, and maintained by a vast network of talented volunteers, working for free to contribute to a larger cause. Makerplane seeks to emulate this model and apply it to aviation, by adopting the same open and community-driven principles that have led to the success of multitudes of open source software and hardware projects. Makerplane will be providing plans for their aircraft and avionics for free and selling kits, parts and support services to sustain the open source operation.
MakerPlane is an open source aviation company that enables people to build and fly their own safe, high quality, reasonable cost airplane using digital manufacturing equipment such as CNC and 3D printers. MakerPlane also provides open source avionics and software to enable state of the art digital flight instruments and displays.”