This work presents the design, fabrication, and testing of a novel lightweight yet sturdy cage for micro aerial vehicles. Fabricated from a polymer infused 12k carbon-fiber using a smart liquid silicone rubber (LSR) molding process, the cage weighs only 3g and is capable of sustaining impacts at speeds up to 6m/s. We also quantitatively and qualitatively characterize the rigidity and stiffness of the cage using a universal testing machine.
This paper subsequently describes the fabrication methodology employed for designing the cage to achieve the high strength-weight ratio. This involves 3D printing, silicon rubber molding, plaster mold rotocasting, wet layup of carbon fiber and finally autoclaving. Finally we demonstrate a 23g autonomous, pico quadrotor capable of sustaining stable flight with collisions with the environment.