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3 May 2017, 12:34

DesignSpark Mechanical – Flying high with

Early in 2016, Richard Browning had a vision. To create a viable anti-gravity jet-engine suit and build a company that could re-imagine human flight.

Throughout 2016 he designed, built, redesigned and rebuilt his prototype flight suit – Daedalus – testing, developing and reiterating for a year before filing patents for the technology and launching Gravity ( the world's first human propulsion company.

His strength, perseverance and ambition to change the world are enthralling and RS is excited to be part of Richard and Gravity's incredible journey, providing tools, components and expertise to support the development of human propulsion technology.


After having created 2D profile sketches of his Daedalus flight suit, Richard and his team started to build 3D CAD renditions for the 1st prototype.


While there were experienced CAD operators on the team using complex 3D CAD software, Richard wanted to be able to add changes and shape the 3D models on his own. To do so, it would cost him at least a week of intensive CAD training which was out of question given his busy schedule and project timescales.

This was when our DesignSpark Mechanical software (a.k.a. DSM) came to the rescue. Using the direct modelling method and a highly intuitive tool set, you can go from being a CAD novice to an expert in a matter of hours.


As you may have already read in our interview with Richard, he had spent over a year developing multiple iterations of his suit. In traditional CAD software, using parametric methods would mean a designer having to work within defined feature constraints and any design rule changes take much longer to update.

In DesignSpark Mechanical, you would only need to use the ‘Pull’ and ‘Combine’ tools to add or directly modify existing geometry which is not limited by any set parameters. You will also be able to switch between different material rendering modes (metal, plastic, etc.) and collaborate with project stakeholders using its built-in 3D PDF generator.

Freedom to create quick revisions of your design is an important part of any Innovative hardware project and is why Richard made DSM his design software of choice.

Below are a couple of screenshots of the Daedalus modules (mini-jet housing, arm grips) rendered as STL files in DSM. These can be exported from DSM for 3D printing in any material of choice.



While it is mostly hobbyists & makers who will find DSM useful for their projects, there are a large number of traditional CAD users who prefer to inter-operate between different CAD software.

To cater for this very need, the essential toolset of DSM is supplemented by 2 professional add-ons.

One provides import, edit and export capability for the STEP & IGES file formats (SolidWorks and CATIA users) and the other includes a complete technical drawing environment with full GD&T support.

Download DesignSpark Mechanical for FREE:

Read more about the add-ons:

Interview with Richard Browning

We caught up with Richard (safely on the ground!) at his home in Salisbury to discover more about his inspirational journey and where Gravity Industries is going next. We had a lot to talk about, so the interview is broken down into individual questions, below.

  1. When did the idea to build an HPT system first come to you?
  2. Can you tell us a bit about your engineering background?
  3. Did you ever doubt that the Daedalus system would work?
  4. Can you tell me about the HUD system you’ve developed using the Sony SmartEyeglass?
  5. How fit do you need to be to ‘pilot’ Daedalus?
  6. Are we heading for a new mode of personal transport?

A curious mind with a passion for 3D CAD & rapid prototyping. Working towards improving the DesignSpark Mechanical software at RS, add-in for SolidWorks 3D among other projects.

3 May 2017, 12:34