3D printed Robots
Robotics and 3d printing – what an exciting combination! Both robotics and additive manufacturing seem to supply each other, initially 3d printing industry helps in customizing robotic parts and the robotics are integrated in 3d printers as part of the developing effort to improve and upgrade printers performances. The best thing about 3d printed robots is that it’s much easier to create anything you like. There are several fantastic 3d printed robotic creations and this is definitely a growing trend which will surely grow in the near future. Enjoy 3D printing YouTube videos, robot arm blueprints, robotic parts 3d designs and even a robot store.
We are excited to present an amazing 3d printed robots case study created by Israeli engineer Jonathan Spitz. Jonathan created 3D printed robotic insects Billy and Charlie, thanks to Jonathan’s experience we can share a glimpse of the current and the future of 3d printed robots.
Your first experience with 3d printing?
We bought a 3D printer for the lab about a year ago. At first I printed mostly stuff downloaded from thingiverse. Then I started trying my own creations (I designed a cover for the common nail clipper which I uploaded to thingiverse). Finally, some 4 months ago I started working on Billy, mixing 3D printed mechanical & robotic parts and electronic components.
What kind of 3d printer you use?
We use an UP2 printer (FDM), Charlie was 3D printed on an UP2 machine from Easy3D using only ABS material.
Which obstacles where you facing along the way if any? The most challenging phase in the process?
As a good mechanical engineer I am skilled in SolidWorks, so the 3D design part came easy to me. Designing parts for 3D printing, so they would require the least amount of supports was somewhat challenging. Learning the limitations of the printer and the material cost me a few iterations in Billy’s design, e.g. there’s a limit to how small you can 3D print a robotic gear with our printer. Finally, the most tedious part of the process was removing the raft off of countless tiny pieces. And soldering!
Future of 3d printing & Robotics in your point of view?
I strongly believe in 3D printing as a rapid prototyping tool. What I did in a month with Billy would have taken six with conventional prototyping technology.
I also like the idea of easily printing whatever comes to mind, especially with the rise of 3D printing services like shapeways. I’m very excited about the future of 3D printing robotics. I see a new technology popping up every other week – metal printing, flexible materials, and embedded electronics. I can’t wait to try it all! I’m also hoping to get a good material recycling solution soon.
Do you have any plans on using 3d printing techniques for additional creations other than Charlie or Billy?
Definitely! I’m already bouncing some ideas around for a 3rd addition to the robot family, but she’ll take her time to get ready.
Do you use specific business plan? Do you plan to sell 3d printed robots like Charlie or Billy or is it pure hobby?
I’m currently developing a business plan and doing some market research. I already know that there’s lots of kids (and kids at heart) out there eager to adopt one of my cute robots, but I need a bit more time to provide a more engaging experience for everyone. (I can’t reveal much more at the moment)
Professional’s tip – Your tip for newbies in the 3d printing industry?
Buy plenty of material and 3D print until you’re a pro too. That’s the beauty of 3D printing robots – you think of something and a few hours later it’s a reality!
Charlie the 3d printed robot cricket click to view
3d printed robot YouTube Video