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Scientists 3D print six-legged robot with solid and liquid materials simultaneously – Firstpost

by • April 7, 2016 • No Comments

In a initially, MIT scientists have 3D printed a tiny six-legged robot via a new technique that involves printing solid and liquid materials at the same time. The new method allows for the team to instantly 3D print dynamic robots in a single step, with no assembly needd, via a commercially-available 3D printing device. “Our approach, that we call ‘printable hydraulics,’ is a step towards the rapid fabrication of functional machines,” said Daniela Rus, of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in US. “All you have to do is stick in a battery and motor, and you have a robot that can practically walk right out of the printing device,” said Rus.
Researchers 3D printed a tiny six-legged robot that can crawl via 12 hydraulic pumps embedded inside its body. Printing liquids is a messy system, that means that many approaches need an extra
post-printing step such as melting it away or having a human manually scrape it clean. That step makes it rigorous for liquid-based methods to be employed for factory-scale making.
With “printable hydraulics,” an inkjet printing device deposits individual droplets of material that are equite 20 to 30 microns in diameter, or less than half the width of a human hair. The printing device proceeds layer-by-layer of the bottom up. For equite layer, the printing device deposits various materials in various parts, and and so uses high-intensity UV light to solidify all of the materials except the liquids. The printing device uses multiple materials, yet at a additional basic level equite layer consists of a “photopolymer,” that is a solid, and “a non-curing material,” that is a liquid. “Inkjet printing lets us have eight various print-heads deposit various materials adjoining to one another, all at the same time,” said Robert MacCurdy of MIT. “It gives us quite satisfactory control of material placement, that is what allows for us to print rigorous, pre-filled fluidic channels,” he said.
One other challenge with 3D printing liquids is that they frequently interfere with the droplets that are supposed to solidify. To handle that issue, the team printed dozens of test geometries with various orientations to determine the proper resolutions for printing solids and liquids together. MacCurdy said that printing both liquids and solids is actually additional complex with other 3D printing methods, such as fused-deposition modelling and laser-sintering.
The researchers 3D printed a tiny hexapod robot that weighs of 1.5 pounds and is less than 6 inches long. To move, a single DC motor spins a crankshaft that pumps fluid to the robot’s legs. Aside of its motor and power donate, equite component is printed in a single step with no assembly needd. Among the robot’s key parts are several set of “bellows” that are 3D printed directly into its body. To propel the robot, the bellows uses fluid pressure that is and so translated into a mechanical force.

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