Dragonfly is the name of my final degree project of Engineering in Industrial Design at ELISAVA.
The design of the drone comes from the mimetic of the wings of a dragonfly and its materials and forms allow to have an excellent impact resistance.
Industrial Product Designer | Industrial Engineer | 3D Specialist | Visual and Motion Designer
The challenge
As the final degree project ELISAVA presents you a briefing together with a company to create a product following the whole process of the design, from value proposal to prototype building and presentation in a period of six months.
In this case the challenge came from the company Airik, a drone specialized start-up from Barcelona that proposed me to create a disruptive and innovative racing drone.
My role
In the final project all the students need to work on their own projects and become all the necessary roles to make sure that you arrive to the end of the design process. In this case I had to act as different roles:
Strategy Designer: controlling the direct relationship between the university, the company and me to understand and discuss the requirements and needs.
Industrial Product Designer: as you need to do the complete process of design of the product, it was necessary to do the research, analysis, ideation, definition of the aesthetics, technical requirements…
Industrial Engineer: in this case it was needed also to contemplate the engineering part of the product creating the electrical circuits, analyzing the proper materials and doing resistance, water flow and electrical tests.
3D Specialist: to perform the tests, control the aesthetics, renders and print for rapid prototyping there was the need to create a proper and detailed 3D model.
Visual and Motion Designer: the project needed to be resumed in a thesis and a final presentation that needs to be presented in a visual proper and coherent form.
Design and research tools
PTC Creo
After Effects
User Interview
Design process
During the six months of designing this project there was an specific process followed to ensure that the final product presented has a real value:
After receiving a briefing with some requirements from Airik and the limitations and objectives from ELISAVA, the first step of the process was analyzing all this information and understand what’s the needs of the project and what strategy is required to have a proper timeline and communication with the business part (Airik and ELISAVA).
Once the needs and requirements of the business part are clear and you have a defined timeline it’s the moment to understand what the user needs and what there is already in the market.
In a growing and trendy industry like drones there is a lot of investment and different uses and users. But in the specific field of racing drones the possibility to investigate what the few drone racers want and what are the needs of an small section of a huge market become a complete nightmare.
Even with that and with the help of a few groups of racing drones like CrazyHorse Barcelona or DRDrone there was the possibility to filter the real need of the user of racing drones using user interviews, benchmarking, analysis and comprehension of the technical and physical specs of drones and understand how to build a drone from scratch.
Having the needs and the market clear it was the time to conceptualize and ideate. Using SWOTs, brainstormings and ideation workshops I arrived to a lot of different proposals.
Of all this proposals a few of them where proposed to the company and university business contacts in the project. The idea of creating a high impact resistance racing drone using a protective case that allows to reduce the costs in replacement parts and forced dropouts in races became the desired solution.
Product Design
With the solution approved it was the moment to start the design of the product. First of all I worked on the definition of the form and shape of the protective case having in mind the electronic and mechanical components that a racing drone needs.
The final decision on the shape came from the biometrical study of dragonflies. Their use of the wings, always in opposite positions between them, allows dragonflies high velocities without loosing stability letting the air flow in a really aerodynamical way.

With the form of the protective chassis clear it was the moment to start thinking about the other parts of the drone and how to ensemble them. With this also the idea of creating a product that the user can feel as his own one the idea of having 3D printed cases for the electrical circuit came as one of the most attractive parts of the product.Using the website of the product clients were able to select wich case they like the most or upload their own case.
Besides the form and the parts, there was an electrical part needed to be clear and a circuit was designed to occupy the minimal space and work with high efficiency.
At this point it was the moment to think about materials that allows a high impact resistance being light to avoid increase the weight of the drone.
Behind a good product there is always the need of a good visual design and a proper branding. Because of that “Dragonfly” branding was created.
Cost analysis
With the design clear, an analysis of the cost was needed to see the viability of the product in the market. Together with the calculation of the price of production and PVP a second ecological analysis based on the CO2 foot print was done.
3D, draws and tests
When all the costs of material a refined 3D model of the drone with all the materials applied to use it for graphical, drawing and testing. The 3D was created using PTC Creo that have a module that allowed to do impact, fluids and air tests.
Besides the testing the 3D was used to refine and finish the technical drawings of the parts of the drone that were going to production.
Finally the 3D was used to create high quality renders using Keyshot for graphical and presentation purposes.
A functional prototype of the final drone was created to verify the dimensions and the proper working of the electronic and mechanical parts. The protective chassis and the cases were printed in 3D PLA and the supportive chassis was made of carbon fiber.
To finalize the project a presentation in front of the tutors from the university, the owner of the company AIRIK and organizers from the Drone Racing Organization of Spain. With this presentation a summary of the project and the advantages of the product and how it works.
In this presentation the people where also able to use the functional prototype.