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With this new 3D printing technique, robots can “practically walk right out of the printer” – Digital Arts Online

by • April 10, 2016 • No Comments

Just imagine you may use a standard 3D printing device to turn it into your upcoming robotic assistant. Just snap in a motor and battery, and it is eager to go.
That is exactly the scenario created possible by a new 3D printing technique created at MIT.
Liquids have long been a challenge for 3D printing, and they’re necessary for hydraulic devices like moving robots. On Wednesday, researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) revealed what they call the quite first technique for 3D printing robots that can print solid and liquid materials at the same time.
That means it is possible to print dynamic robots in a single step, via a commercially on the market 3D printing device.
“Our approach, that we call ‘printable hydraulics,’ is a step towards the rapid fabrication of functional machines,” said CSAIL Director Daniela Rus, who oversaw the project and co-wrote a paper describing the results. “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.”
The paper can be presented upcoming month at the 2016 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Sweden.
Most approaches to printing liquids have required extra
post-printing steps such as guide cleaning, building the liquid step tricky to include in factory-scale making. With the new technique, an inkjet printing device deposits individual droplets of material that are equite 20 to 30 microns in diameter – less than half the width of a human hair. The printing device deposits various materials layer by layer and and so uses high-intensity UV light to solidify the non-liquid portions.
“Inkjet printing lets us have eight various print heads deposit various materials adjoining to one another, all at the same time,” said MIT postdoc Robert MacCurdy, a co-author on the project. “It gives us quite satisfactory control of material placement, that is what allows for us to print rigorous, pre-filled fluidic channels.”
To demonstrate the concept, the researchers printed a six-legged robot that can crawl via 12 hydraulic pumps embedded inside its body. It weighs of 1.5 pounds (680 grams) and is less than 6 inches (15 centimetres) long. 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 required.
With modifications, actually existing multi-material 3D printing devices may use this technique, the researchers say.
The technique allows for for a customizable create template to turn it into robots of various sizes, shapes and functions. Potential applications may include disaster relief in dangerous environments.
“If you have a crawling robot that you want to have step over a thing larger, you can tweak the create in a matter of minutes,” MacCurdy said. “In the next, the process can in no way require any human input at all; you can only press a few buttons, and it can instantly manufacture the changes.”


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