Project Hex is a student-led team at the University of Sheffield dedicated to advancing UAV technology and research. Over 40 talented individuals from a world-class University come together each academic year to form a passionate and committed team. We design, build, and fly autonomous aircraft to compete in national and international competitions. For the last 5 years we have been entering the IMechE UAS challenge, producing some fantastic aircraft and systems in the process.
Project Hex provides students the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to challenging engineering problems beyond the level that is expected from their degree alone, giving them real world practical engineering experience that will accelerate their careers, as well as enhance their CVs.
However, at our core, we are a group of passionate students who love to work within a team on awesome projects to produce incredible results!
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Vulcan is Project Hex’s enterprising two-year project to design, build and fly competitive aircraft for the international AUVSI SUAS Competition in America.
The project requires interdisciplinary expertise from Aerodynamics all the way to Computer Science, Marketing and Finance. Success will be driven by the core teams, Aerostructures, Avionics & Control, and Electronics and Operations.
Vulcan provides an exciting opportunity for students to take part in a project much larger than they normally would on their course, as well as enabling work with materials and components that would be outside the budget of most individuals.
Vulcan itself will be a beast of an aircraft, featuring a predicted 3m wingspan, composite airframe, offaxis capable gimbal stabilised camera, companion computers and much much more. Follow our social media for future updates on Vulcan!
Take a look at our video here.
Big Brian, an over 10kg MTOW quadcopter with 26kgs of lift, showcases what Project Hex can achieve under exceptional circumstances.
The resilience and teamwork displayed throughout a global pandemic demonstrates the core values of Hex; passion, commitment and innovation. The team was able to design, manufacture and test this heavylift quadcopter.
Using CAD and CAM methods the team delivered an impressive final product that performed spectacularly on its successful maiden flight. The comparison of concept to the final product is striking.
Further small iterations in the design and software have already been identified by the team and will be implemented before the next flight. Brian will play an important role in our Vulcan Programme as an avionics testbed for evaluating the avionics, vision systems and path planning algorithms before their integration onto Vulcan.
Talon will be Hex’s first ever VTOL Fixed wing Hybrid aircraft and will give us the required experience and understanding of the dynamics of transitioning from Vertical to forward flight.
Talon will also allow us to test new parameters and algorithms without risking the loss of Vulcan.
The project is a great opportunity to give some hands-on UAV experience to those team members who have not been fortunate enough to build their own drones in the past.
An incredible day for the team, a key milestone celebrating the maiden flight of Big Brian and a well deserved team social!
A highly anticipated day that was well deserved, after long hours on Fusion 360, months of hard work in the workshop and pages upon pages of risks assessments. With special thanks to our Director of Operations, Bryony Smith, who made the first test flight day in nearly a year and a half possible by some incredible networking.
Big Brian soared to the skies under the control of Chief Engineer, Balazs Rigo, with Director of Electronics, Toby Ward's 5 Inch Mini Quadcopter close behind providing some beautiful aerial FPV chase footage. Brian performed very well completing multiple waypoint missions and RTL tests with no issues.
Our Engineers have already identified multiple improvements which will be integrated before the next flight.
The team then enjoyed a post flight debrief at the local pub signifying Hex finally returning to socials after nearly a year and a half of Covid restrictions!
Many thanks to everyone that came along, especially Josh, Toby and Jack for providing much needed transport, and of course Bryony for locating and securing us access to the flying site without which this day wouldn't have been possible in the first place.
We can't wait for the next flight day and hope to see even more of you there!