Robotic 3D printing

New techniques to improve the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of 3D printing

3D printing is commonly used for rapid prototyping, allowing designers to generate and test components within a short timeframe. However, one of the most commonly used techniques prints layer-by-layer as the filament can only be printed on existing material rather than in empty space. This means additional scaffold structures are required to print complex features (such as overhangs), which must then be manually removed after printing. This is both time-consuming and wasteful.

In order to address the drawbacks of this traditional method a robotic 3D printing system was designed and implemented. Using two UR-3 robotic arms a more efficient system was developed. In this new system one arm rotates a build platform while the other prints material. This allows filament deposition to work with gravity, eliminating dangling and sagging of the extruded material in many cases.

This research demonstrates the strength of using two robotic arms collaboratively. Using the developed technique freeform shapes and wireframe printings were produced without the need for support structures, saving time and material.

3D printing of a slinky using the new technique

Project members

Yingchen Liu
Jon McCormack
Elliott Wilson