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3D Printed Micro Drone 2.0 Lets You Design Your Ride

Why simply pilot any old drone when you can customize and modify one to your own specifications?

The small but speedy 3D-printed flying drone called Micro Drone 2.0 will now make its design files freely available on its website, parent company Extreme Fliers announced today (Feb. 13). The drone sells for $99.

Owners can download the .STL files (the most common 3D model file format) and modify the parts using just about any computer-aided design program, such as the free Blender or SketchUp.

MORE: Best 3D Printers 2014

The Mini Drone isn't just a one-trick toy, however. We went hands-on with the Micro Drone 2.0 at the 3D Print Show in New York City this week, where we were impressed not only with the drone's design, but also with its smooth controls and speed.

It flies better than most of the drones we've seen, changing directions quickly and smoothly in midair. The drone can also perform mid-air flips, and if you throw it into the air it can right itself and start flying again.

Created by Britain-based Extreme Fliers, the Micro Drone 2.0 is less than a foot across and has four small propellers that keep it aloft for up to 8 minutes and allow it to hover, turn and perform flips. It can be ordered from the company's website.

Want bigger propellers? Simple. Want to redesign the cockpit cover? The sky's the limit. Want to print the parts in new colors? If you have a 3D printer and the colored plastic to print it in, you're all set.

The Micro Drone 2.0 has a modular design, meaning its component parts can be unattached, redesigned and reattached to create new designs.

This means you can experiment with different part designs to see how they affect the drone's speed and control. Or, you can simply redesign the parts to look like you want them to look.

At the 3D Print Show in New York, one of the Micro Drones was sporting two large, thin, wheel-like structures on either side, which allowed the drone to roll around on the floor and also served as a buffer to protect it from walls and other hard objects.

People who don't own a 3D printer or don't wish to do the designing themselves can also purchase parts or other people's designs on Extreme Fliers' website.

The drone comes with a controller, though the developers told Tom's Guide they're working on a smartphone app as well. It also has a 720p camera that stores video and photos to an onboard microSD card.

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Jill Scharr is a creative writer and narrative designer in the videogame industry. She previously worked as a Staff Writer for Tom's Guide, covering video games, online security, 3D printing and tech innovation.