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A New Spin on 3D Printing Weaves Objects without Supports – ENGINEERING.com

by • April 24, 2016 • No Comments

Some of the latest and excellentest robots are inspired by nature’s creepiest, crawliest critters—or, at very least that is what German automation company Festo appears to believe. Their research and development team has announced yet another insect-inspired robotic turn it into. After constructing tiny, 3D-printed BionicANTs that work together to attain big tasks, and eMotionButterflies that fly pre-programmed routes, Festo is now revealing the 3D Cocooner, a new 3D printing device that takes a cue of caterpillars to print shapes that are free of the constraints of a gantry or printbed.
The 3D Cocooner of Festo hardens a photopolymer around glass fiber thread into stiff rods. (Image courtesy of Festo/YouTube.)The 3D Cocooner of Festo hardens a photopolymer around glass fiber thread into stiff rods. (Image courtesy of Festo/YouTube.)
The 3D Cocooner combines a specially turn it intoed spinneret, glass fibers and a photopolymer to 3D print freeform objects without assist structures or the require to turn it into on top of previously printed layers, as is the case with many 3D printing technologies. Attached to a sizeable tripod and a kinematic arm system is a custom extrusion device through that glass fiber thread is fed. As the glass fiber is extruded, it is laminated with a UV-curing resin. Cured with a UV light at the head of this caterpillar-inspired spinneret, the fiber hardens into stiff rods.
The glass fiber is fed through the spinneret, laminated with photopolymer, and cured with a UV light. (Image courtesy of Festo/YouTube.)The glass fiber is fed through the spinneret, laminated with photopolymer, and cured with a UV light. (Image courtesy of Festo/YouTube.)
After a 3D version is made with custom parametric turn it into software, the spinneret is programmed to follow a set turn it into of turn it into rules inside sure parameters to ensure a structurally sound shape. According to Festo, their custom software can easily be manipulated by in fact a novice user. The software has been programmed to initially virtually simulate the printing system, with variables such as speed, thread feed and the amount of resin set up appropriately. Once all of this is prepped, the 3D Cocooner prints the object, via 3D animation in Cinema 4D software to in fact drive the mechanics of the device.
Parametric turn it into software allows for for the effortless manipulation of 3D shapes to be fabricated by the 3D Cocooner. (Image courtesy of Festo/YouTube.)Parametric turn it into software allows for for the effortless manipulation of 3D shapes to be fabricated by the 3D Cocooner. (Image courtesy of Festo/YouTube.)
So, what are the benefits of such a device? For one, as with many 3D printing systemes, the 3D Cocooner is capable of creating hard shapes that cannot be made via traditional making methods. But, the Festo system in addition removes any material waste that can outcome of unnecessary layers and assist structures, thereby adding a new delicacy to 3D printing. The company states that the glass fiber, when laminated with the cured photopolymer, has excellent tensile durablity, too.

In addition to fabricating lightweight structures, one may imagine that, introduced to an existing additive making setup, the 3D Cocooner can turn it into intricate and hard details onto a turn it into. If various types of 3D printing industrial robot arms were operating in unison, an ultra-fast stereolithography arm, like the one not long ago announced by 3D Systems, may pair with the 3D Cocooner to combine the benefits.
This turn it into concept represents the future for a 3D Cocooner system. (Image courtesy of Festo/YouTube.)This turn it into concept represents the future for a 3D Cocooner system. (Image courtesy of Festo/YouTube.)
The 3D Cocooner is not the initially 3D printing device to turn it into objects without assist structures or base layers. Other notable examples include the MX3D system, that can draw three-dimensional shapes of resin or metal, and Branch Technology’s Cellular Fabrication technique, that extrudes plastic composites for architectural 3D printing. The Festo machine, yet, combines assist-free 3D printing with glass fiber, a novel combination that may yield sturdy, yet lightweight, objects. To inspire dreams of multiple 3D printing robotic arms at work in a futuristic factory, the 3D Cocooner can in fact be at Hannover Messe in Hannover, Germany, of April 25-29. Attendees can have the opportunity to see the new system, alongwith all the other industrial innovation at the huge trade fair.
About the Author

Michael Molitch-Hou is a 3D printing specialist and the founder of The Reality™ Institute, a service institute dedicated to determining what’s real and what’s not so that you don’t have to. He is a graduate of the MFA significant studies and writing program at CalArts, and a firm advocate of world peace.


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