3D Printing is helping reinvent robots (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 77)

3D printing is helping many industries find new effective ways of going about their business. In robotics, this was particularly apparent, mostly due to the still very early nature of the field. The research environment is more flexible and open to disruption and this has led to some pretty amazing applications. Through generative design CAD techniques, Boston Dynamics robots got a substantial weight-cut and simplified the overall design, much like Airbus is doing with its airplane cabin parts. Thanks to its manufacturing flexibility and quick iteration times, 3D printing is enabling wild prototying ideas, like new soft robotic grippers, and aiding students in not only putting robotics within reach but to be able to innovate on practically the same level as any other company.

A Morning Jog With Boston Dynamic’s 3D Printing Powered Atlas Robot

Structure of the Atlas' legs. Image via Boston Dynamics

Despite the feeling for this extremely realistic robot, [Boston Dynamic’sAtlas is undeniably a feat of modern engineering, in many parts enabled by 3D printing. To be expected, the legs responsible for Atlas’ convincing agility have been cited as one of the most challenging parts of its development. Each leg is actuated by hydraulic power, requiring the internal integration of multiple channels and actuator cylinders into a single part – a task that has been overcome with the use of 3D printing.

Read the full coverage on 3D Printing Industry.

Silicone material enables the 3D printing of soft robotic grippers

3d printing of soft robotic grippers

The ACEO team from Wacher Chemie AG chose 3D printing for its soft robotic grippers because this technology lets designers customize the grippers into varying sizes, shapes and weights. The elastomer material is made from 100% silicone and can be used in food applications and also offers biocompatibility.

Check out the full article here.

Rize One 3D Printer Helps Students Reach Success in Robotics Competition

FRC Team 1257 was part of a challenge that was called FIRST Power Up, which asked students to build robots that placed boxes on scales. As part of the challenge, the team designed a functional pulley with an integrated sprocket and used a Rize One 3D printer to 3D print it in one piece, reducing the number of parts that would have otherwise been needed and minimizing the assembly required.

“We chose the Rize One 3D printer to print the part due to Rize’s isotropic part strength and ink marking capability,” said Jackie Gerstein, a technology teacher at UCMHS and faculty advisor and mentor to Team 1257.

Read the article here.

 

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Evolving Scene of Metal AM (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 15)

This week was chock-full of news related to metal AM. The global scene is intensely researching the potential of metal AM and competitiveness is growing in all its aspects: metal powder production, CAD optimization, manufacturing method and much more. This week we saw exposed not one, but two new methods of metal AM! LLNL and the University of Sheffield both came out with novel techniques to produce produce metal objects additively and they both have their own unique benefits, being that increased speed or greater reliability. All the while we are making strides in understanding the complex physics involved in metal sintering processes: greater knowledge and improved optimization software is also crucial to manufacture metal parts reliably and efficiently.

 

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory announces new metal 3D printing method

US federal research facility, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) has announced the results of an ongoing three-year research project into direct metal 3D printing. The technology, referred to as ‘Direct Metal Writing’ (DMW) adds to existing metal additive solutions such as selective laser melting (SLM). […] The new approach uses semi-solid metal feed material, beginning with a heated ingot or small block of metal. Once heated to a semi-solid state, the metal is then pushed through the extruder in a paste-like consistency. The material is shear thinning, which means it forms as a solid when left to rest and acts more like a viscous liquid when in motion or when applied with force.

Read more about DMW here.

Significant Speed Up For 3D Metal Printing Developed

Researchers at the University of Sheffield have developed a unique 3D metal printing process that could dramatically speed up metal printing. […] they call “Diode Area Melting”, or “DAM”. Instead of a single (or small number of) lasers, the DAM approach involves using an array of low power laser diode emitters. These emitters are not directed to the powder by an arrangement of mirrors, but instead are positioned above the powder surface and apply their energy directly.

Read more about DAM right here.

Challenges in modeling and simulation for metal additive manufacturing

Commercial acceptance of AM for exacting applications still faces a technical challenge caused by the limited understanding of physical phenomena in the melt pool. Real-time observation of this physical phenomena is difficult since AM melt pools are inherently transient and involve complex physical interactions between energy beam-powder substrate. Moreover, the real-time measurements of thermal and fluid variables can typically be made only on the surface of the melt pool. In contrast, a numerical simulation of mass, momentum, and energy transfer in melt pools can provide approximation of the melt pool shape and some useful 3D fields such as the distributions of temperature, flow velocities, solidification temperature gradient and solidification rate. Ultimately, an understanding of the relationships between processing, structure, properties and performance is essential.

Check out both parts of the article, here and here.

 

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