Archivi del mese: marzo 2018

Materialise Receives FDA Clearance for 3D Printed Anatomical Models

Materialise Receives FDA Clearance for 3D Printed Anatomical Models
By Bulent Yusuf

3d printed anatomical models

Materialise is the world’s first additive manufacturing company to receive FDA clearance for diagnostic 3D printed anatomical models. FDA clearance supports the continued growth of point-of-care 3D printing facilities.

Belgian company Materialise is the first in the world to receive FDA clearance for software intended for 3D printing anatomical models for diagnostic use.

Leading hospitals are adopting integrated 3D printing services as part of their medical practices as they recognize the added value it brings to personalized patient care.

Materialise brings nearly three decades of experience in developing medical solutions that help researchers, engineers and clinicians achieve the desired patient outcomes.

In August 2017, the FDA announced that software intended to create output files used for printing 3D patient-specific anatomical models which are used for diagnostic purposes — is a class II medical device and requires regulatory clearance.

Materialise is the first company to provide software which conforms to these regulations and which can be used in U.S. hospitals in combination with a compatible 3D printer. Materialise Mimics inPrint software is used for pre-operative planning and the fabrication of physical models for diagnostic purposes, including patient management, treatment and surgeon-to-surgeon communication.

3d printed anatomical models

Important Milestone for 3D Printed Anatomical Models

Frank J. Rybicki, MD, PhD and Chief of Medical Imaging at Ottawa Hospital says:

“510k clearance is an essential component to ensure quality and safety in the practice of anatomical modeling in hospitals. This milestone for Materialise serves as a benchmark for the clinical implementation of 3D printing for physicians creating 3D models at the point-of-care.”

The FDA clearance supports the creation of point-of-care 3D printing facilities in hospitals. Anatomical models help surgeons to make better-informed decisions and to accurately plan their surgeries. They are also used to enhance education and communication between multidisciplinary teams and with the patient.

Hospitals recognize the added value 3D Printing brings to personalized patient care and to define treatment options. As a result, an increasing number of hospitals across the U.S. have integrated the practice of 3D Printing in their medical care and are creating point-of-care 3D printing facilities. Out of the top 20 US hospitals (as ranked by the US News and World Report), 16 have implemented a medical 3D printing strategy using Materialise Mimics technology.

“Materialise has nearly three decades of experience in developing certified medical solutions that create a better and healthier world,” says Wilfried Vancraen, Materialise CEO.

“The FDA clearance for our Mimics inPrint software will support the adoption of 3D planning and printing in U.S. hospitals and the creation of point-of-care 3D printing facilities.”

Source: Press Release

3d printed anatomical models

The post Materialise Receives FDA Clearance for 3D Printed Anatomical Models appeared first on All3DP.

March 25, 2018 at 08:31PM
via All3DPAll3DP

4D Printed Structures Could Improve Space Missions and Biomedical Devices

4D Printed Structures Could Improve Space Missions and Biomedical Devices
By Hanna Watkin

Tensegrity Objects

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology developed tensegrity structures using 3D printers. The 3D printed objects dramatically expand when exposed to heat. 

It’s been somewhat quiet on 4D printing in 2017, but recently, things are unfolding again. Researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a method using 4D printing which could greatly improve space missions.

Essentially, 4D printing means a 3D printed structure which then changes in some way after the print is complete. More on 4D printing here: 4D Printing – All You Need to Know

In this case, the researchers used 3D printers to create objects which expand when exposed to heat. With heat, the 3D printed objects turn into tensegrity structures. This system relies on struts, or floating polymer rods, which are held together by cables. Glaucio Paulino, a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering explains:

“Tensegrity structures are extremely lightweight while also being very strong… That’s the reason there’s a heavy amount of interest right now in researching the use of tensegrity structures for outer space exploration. The goal is to find a way to deploy a large object that initially takes up little space.”

From Flat to Fully Unfurled at 149 Degrees Fahrenheit

In order to take up very little space, the struts are temporarily folded flat. This is possible as they are 3D printed as hollow shapes with a narrow opening which runs through the tube. At the end of each strut is an attachment point which connects the cables, also made using 3D printing.

After printing, the flat structures are put into 149 degrees Fahrenheit (or 65 degrees Celsius) water and begin to unfurl. This happens as the struts are 3D printed using shape memory polymers. It’s then the “memory” of the struts which makes this happen and researchers can control the speed.

“We believe that you could build something like an antenna that initially is compressed and takes up little space, but once it’s heated, say just from the heat of the sun, would fully expand,” said Jerry Qi, a professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech. Another idea is using the structures for shape-change soft robots.

The researcher’s work was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Find out more by reading the research published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Source: Tech Crunch

Tensegrity Objects

The post 4D Printed Structures Could Improve Space Missions and Biomedical Devices appeared first on All3DP.

March 25, 2018 at 06:55PM
via All3DPAll3DP

Weekend Project: Make Life Easier with the Pocket-Sized Keytool

Weekend Project: Make Life Easier with the Pocket-Sized Keytool
By Tyler Koslow

Looking for an easy way to organize your life? This 3D printable keytool will hold your keys, USB, a small ruler, a docking device for your phone, and even a bottle opener all in one place.  

It’s the little things in life that can make or break your day. What better way to ensure that life goes smoothly than a bit of organization. Today’s Weekend Project is a 3D printable keytool that will give you easy access to a number of gadgets that always seem to disappear when you need them most.

Now, you can keep five essential tools in your pocket with this 3D printed Keytool designed by Lucas de Groot. The project, which was recently shared on Instructables, is an easy and fun way to make something functional with your 3D printer.

In under one hour, you’ll have yourself a one-stop shop for your house keys, a USB drive, a ruler, a mobile docking device, and a bottle opener. This 3D printed Keytool is great for beginners or makers who want a practical example of what desktop 3D printing is capable of.

Interested in undertaking this useful project? Let’s take a quick look at what you need to make your very own Keytool.

3D Printed Keytool: What Do You Need?

The frame of the Keytool is 3D printed, but you’ll also need a few components to put this useful little kit together. Aside your 3D printer, filament, and of course, keys, here’s what else you need:

USB Flash Drive
2x M6 Countersunk Bolts

4x M6 Hex Nuts

3D Printed Keytool: Putting it All Together

The first step to making this Keytool is 3D printing the three separate STL files, which de Groot has made freely available on Instructables. The maker shares that he 3D printed his own with PLA, using a low layer height ranging between 0.2 to 0.1 mm.

Once the 3D printed parts are ready, you’ll insert the M6 Hex Nuts into one side of the Keytool. The model is designed so that they should fit snugly and not fall out.

Then, taking the other part of the Keytool, you’ll plug in the two bolts. Choose one bolt to mount your keys and the USB ring before tightening everything together. On the other bolt, you’ll place two nuts to make sure the parts don’t move around.

Finally, you’ll attach the sides together and screw the 3D printed parts together. de Groot mentions that the bolts should not be screwed too tightly because “the keys have to move smooth but the sub needs to stay in any position you put it”.

And that’s it! Now you have your very own 3D printed Keytool. The designer recently entered this project into Instructables’ Pocket-Sized Challenge. So, if you love this neat little t0ol, feel free to vote for it and check out the other small (yet significantly useful) 3D printing projects!

The post Weekend Project: Make Life Easier with the Pocket-Sized Keytool appeared first on All3DP.

March 25, 2018 at 03:05PM
via All3DPAll3DP

La Bandita: Hackrod and Siemens Partner to Develop Self-Designing Car

La Bandita: Hackrod and Siemens Partner to Develop Self-Designing Car
By Anne Freier

Hackrod is partnering with Siemens PLM Software to help accelerate the development of La Bandita, a self-designing speedster that will be produced with virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and 3D printing technology.

Self-driving cars are currently being explored and tested, and while recent news has shown a deadly side to the concept, we seem to be nearing a future where artificial intelligence will soon play the role of our chauffeur or taxi driver. However, innovative technologies are not only being used to automate how vehicles navigate the road, but also how they’re designed.

One company is already looking to the future where an automobile will be able to design itself. Hackrod, the start-up behind the idea, aims to create custom-made vehicles by combining 3D printing with virtual reality (VR) and AI. The company plans to build cars that are ‘self-designed’ using generative design-based algorithms.

To make this effort possible, Hackrod has partnered with the German automation giant Siemens to help drive the acceleration of this concept. The Siemens Digital Innovation Platform is teaming up with the startup to develop its first car: La Bandita.

Siemens will provide a range of PLM Software tools, including the NX software and the cloud-based software Solid Edge Portal. This will enable Hackrod to produce a test version of La Bandita more rapidly.

“Hackrod’s vision for automotive design is an exciting and unique use of our design and engineering software. [It] is completely in line with Siemens’ vision for the future of manufacturing. We look forward to seeing the ‘La Bandita’ speedster. it as proof of concept for this revolutionary design to production methodology,” said Bob Haubrock, the Senior Vice President, Product Engineering Software, at Siemens PLM Software.

Furthermore, the partnership will provide huge cost savings for Hackrod, while also expanding Siemens’ growing portfolio of niche project support.

La Bandita – AI, VR, and 3D Printing Take the Wheel

Through the partnership, Hackrod is developing a platform that will enable bespoke design. The automotive production technique will utilize VR as a design tool, IoT and machine learning to constantly improve engineering systems, and industrial 3D printing to produce optimized hardware from structural alloy.

Slade Gardner, CTO at Hackrod, said the partnership with Siemens builds on a shared vision for automobile design and engineering.

“Because the Hackrod vision includes rapid data collection for product design and iteration; and customized manufacturing of sophisticated mechatronic systems, Siemens’ hardware connectivity for Industrial IoT and multi-axis additive manufacturing are critical to success. The products of our partnership will illustrate the impact that an efficient and motivated team can have with access to world class digital design, engineering, visualization, manufacturing and inspection power.”

Hackrod claims that it would be easy for anyone to design their dream car with this technique.

For automotive enthusiasts intrigued by La Bandita, Hackrod is already offering a pre-order option for the car on its website. The company originally ran a crowdfunding campaign for the project with great success – tripling its original funding goals.

Source: Hackrod

The post La Bandita: Hackrod and Siemens Partner to Develop Self-Designing Car appeared first on All3DP.

March 24, 2018 at 08:15PM
via All3DPAll3DP

Peacock Gets 3D Printed Prosthetic Leg from Random Reddit User

Peacock Gets 3D Printed Prosthetic Leg from Random Reddit User
By Tyler Koslow

A Wyoming family’s pet peacock lost its foot from frostbite, the owners went searching for help on Reddit. One random user decided to design and 3D print a prosthetic device for the majestic bird, giving it a better chance at leading a quality life.  

After braving this year’s chilly Wyoming winter, one family’s pet peacock lost its leg due to harsh frostbite. Although its stump healed quickly, it was unclear whether or not the winged beauty would be able to lead a quality life.

Fearing that the vibrant bird would struggle after losing the limb, the owners went searching for a helping hand on Reddit.

Thanks to the kindness of one random user, the male peafowl was given a new lease on life. Using a prosthetic model previously used to aid a stork, the man had redesigned and 3D printed a leg for the pet peacock. The Wyoming family and Redditor exchanged dimensions through email, and soon after, the 3D printed prosthetic arrived in the mail.

“It’s amazing that people took their time and money  to help us and a peacock that they will more than likely never meet,” the peacock’s owner said to The Daily Mail.

Wyoming Peacock Adjusts to Life with 3D Printed Prosthetic Leg

At first, the peacock struggled to adjust to the 3D printed limb replacement. And so, the family set up an enclosure for the bird to grow accustomed to the prosthetic. They also added felt padding and support brackets for increased comfort.

The 3D printed prosthetic is currently attached to the limb with zip ties, but Velcro straps could be added to make it easier to remove and adjust the device.

The bird was monitored for a few days after the assistive device was fastened, and the owners soon realized that they had to make adjustments. The owners also had to stop the peacock’s wing from dragging on the floor, which it was doing to help balance.

While the pet peacock is still getting used to the 3D printed prosthetic leg, he can be seen happily hopping around on his new foot.

The midwestern couple that owns the bird has a popular YouTube channel called Our Wyoming Life, where they showcase the daily occurrences of ranch life. They recently shared the story of how their peacock received and adjusted to its new prosthetic device.

Watch the heart-warming video below!

The post Peacock Gets 3D Printed Prosthetic Leg from Random Reddit User appeared first on All3DP.

March 24, 2018 at 06:55PM
via All3DPAll3DP

Weekend Project: 3D Print Your Own Magnetic Stirrer

Weekend Project: 3D Print Your Own Magnetic Stirrer
By Tyler Koslow

Need some on-the-run laboratory equipment or just a neat way to mix liquids? One hobbyist named John Coggeshall shows us how to build a 3D printed magnetic stirrer. Let’s get scientific!

Do you remember your first mind-blowing experience in science class? Was it a chemical reaction oozing out of your beaker? Staring slack-jawed as you learned about the magic behind magnetic fields?

Whether or not scientific experimentation currently plays a integral role in your career, science has most likely shaped your life in one way or another. And, using your 3D printer, you can bring those fond memories of exploration back into your life.

A hobbyist named John Coggeshall has recently created a 3D printed Magnetic Stirrer. He decided to build one after learning that his fiancee wanted a better way to mix her paints.

This scientific instrument works by using a motor to spin two powerful magnets with opposite polarity. These components are mounted under a platform that will hold the beaker. By placing a pill-like contraption containing two additional magnets into the liquid that will be mixed.

The magnetic attraction between the pill and motor-mounted magnets will align. Finally, once the motor is turned on, the magnets start to stir the liquid.

Sounds a bit complicated, doesn’t it? Well, believe it or not, building your own 3D printed Magnetic Stirrer is easier than it looks.

3D Printed Magnetic Stirrer: What Do You Need?

According to Coggeshall, there’s almost no soldering required, and you’ll only need a few electronic components. Aside from a 3D printer and PLA filament, here’s what else you need to start putting a little spin on your weekend:

STL Files (via Thingiverse)
1 x Female 5.5 x 2.1mm M80 power jack

1 x 80mm 12V PC Fan

1 x 12V Motor speed controller with LCD

2 x 10mm neodymium rare earth magnets

2 x 3mm neodymium magnets

3D Printed Magnetic Stirrer: Putting it All Together

Coggeshall explains the assembly process on This Smart House, a DIY website that contains a handful of interesting projects. After sharing the reasoning behind why he developed the Magnetic Stirrer, he broke down why he settled on each part.

The hobbyist realized that using a 80mm 12V DC computer fan would be much more convenient than designing something to spin the magnets on his own. With the fan as the base, he decided to 3D print an enclosure for the magnets and glue it to the fan.

His model is set up with four magnet slots, even though his project only uses two magnets in this particular section. This was done to allow others to use the outer slots for a bigger stir rod, or even use four magnets if you so desire. The creator of the project shares a bit of insight before moving into the step-by-step assembly instructions.

“When building this device it is really important that the distance between the magnetics within the case, and the magnetic pill itself within the container be as close as possible. They are powerful magnets for sure, but for our purposes even a millimeter or two can drastically change how effective the device is at mixing,” Coggeshall says.

Once everything is 3D printed, there are just a few simple steps to putting it all together with glue and light soldering. In a matter of minutes, you will be mixing and mashing liquids using the power of magnets.

If you want to build you own 3D printed Magnetic Stirrer, be sure to check out the full step-by-step instructions on the This Smart House website.

The post Weekend Project: 3D Print Your Own Magnetic Stirrer appeared first on All3DP.

March 24, 2018 at 04:05PM
via All3DPAll3DP

Shower with a 3D Printed Dolphin, Dinosaur or Dragon Head from Zooheads

Shower with a 3D Printed Dolphin, Dinosaur or Dragon Head from Zooheads
By Hanna Watkin


Brooklyn-based company Zooheads is creating interesting 3D printed shower heads for “the wild at heart”. Choose from a lion, dragon, dinosaur, shark, crocodile, or many more.

Jazz up your bathroom with the Zooheads shower heads. The Brooklyn-based company is selling quirky 3D printed heads in a range of colors and animals.

The heads are available in 20 different colors and there are 11 animals to choose, from so you can truly personalize your shower. After purchasing your neon pink lion, simply attach the head, climb into the shower, and enjoy how the friendly plastic animal livens up your morning routine.

Zooheads is a spinoff from the 3D printing company, Voodoo Manufacturing. Consequently, they don’t have an inventory of stock in a warehouse. Instead, they fabricate product on an on-demand basis, meaning your yellow dinosaur is only printed when you order it.

“The idea originated when I created a now-famous T-rex skull shower head, ” says Jonathan Schwartz, co-founder and Chief Product Officer of Voodoo Manufacturing.

“In 2014, I designed this shower head and posted it to the Thingiverse, the popular 3D printing file sharing site. Quickly after posting the design, it went viral, so we thought, why not make this a business? We’re super stoked to make cool shower heads and look forward to creating new lines around pop-culture!”


Personalize Your Bathroom with Zooheads

A shower head costs $30 and shipping is free. After visiting the website and selecting your preferred animal and color, it takes around eight hours to print a shower head. Then your new bathroom accessory will be shipped within two days.

Right now, your animal choices are; elephant, dolphin, T-rex skull, alligator, dragon, dragon skull, lion, gorilla, eagle, and shark. Choose from any of these animals in one of the 20 colors including everything from neon orange to glow in the dark.

Zooheads adds that the designs are made with eco-friendly 3D printing materials. They’re made to last and printed high quality, durable, non-toxic PLA.

Tempted to buy a glow in the dark alligator? Take advantage of the launch sale before March 29th and you’ll receive $5 off all shower heads.

And if none of these options take your fancy, the company plans to add new themed lines in the future. You can also design your own custom shower head by contacting the company direct. What would you like to attach to your shower head?

Source: Digital Trends


The post Shower with a 3D Printed Dolphin, Dinosaur or Dragon Head from Zooheads appeared first on All3DP.

March 24, 2018 at 12:59AM
via All3DPAll3DP

6-Axis Open-Source Robot Arm is Now on Kickstarter

6-Axis Open-Source Robot Arm is Now on Kickstarter
By Hanna Watkin


The AR2 6 axis robot launched on Kickstarter – this is an open-source, 3D printable kit which can be built using off-the-shelf components all for under $2,500. 

Just launched on Kickstarter is the AR2 6 axis robot aluminum parts kit operated by an Arduino microcontroller. The robot was created by Chris Annin, an automation engineer who has worked in the investment casting industry for more than 20 years.

“I have a passion for robotics. I’ve always wondered why robots have to cost more than $30K and I wanted to bring a lower cost option to the table to afford the rest of us the opportunity to experience and play with 6 axis robots,” he explains.

Annin is hoping to raise $23,900. So far, the campaign has managed $6,328 thanks to 7 backers. But there are still 41 days to go. However, Annin’s robot is open source, which may hinder the money raising.

You can support the campaign and buy an aluminum parts kit from Kickstarter for $1,195. This includes the full set of aluminum structural components to build the AR2 robot. Alternatively, pledge $100 or more and receive the AR2 full set of 3D printed covers and spacers for the 6 axis robot.

Annin adds that the cost for electrical components, bearings, and hardware is around $1,180. This means that to build the robot, including the aluminum parts kit, will be $2,375. However, he adds that a typical desktop 6 axis robot can cost upwards of $30k.


Are you Mechanically Inclined?

If the Kickstarter campaign is successful, the kits will be shipped worldwide by June 2018. But, Annin explains that this project isn’t for the inexperienced.

“Users will need to be somewhat mechanically inclined and able to follow basic assembly instructions and know how to load software onto their computer and onto an Arduino,” he states on the Kickstarter page.

If you can manage this then after building you’ll have a robotic arm which can provide movement through 6 axes. Annin adds that it’s an affordable entry-level option.

Alternatively, if you’re up for more of a challenge, it’s possible to download all software, instructions and 3D printing files from GitHub.

Check out the Kickstarter campaign to pledge and receive an AR2 robot kit!

Source: Geeky Gadgets


The post 6-Axis Open-Source Robot Arm is Now on Kickstarter appeared first on All3DP.

March 23, 2018 at 10:45PM
via All3DPAll3DP

Weekend Project: Brighten Memories with the 3D Printed Lithophane Lamp

Weekend Project: Brighten Memories with the 3D Printed Lithophane Lamp
By Tyler Koslow

Maker and YouTuber MakewithRex shows us how to create a 3D printed lithophane lamp. By following his instructions, you can turn your favorite photos into a lantern of memories. 

3D printing is a magnificent tool for making physical objects, whether it be for prototypes or functional projects. But many makers have recently started using the technology to create something much more transcendent and long-lasting; a little thing called memories.

Over the last year or so, lithophanes have become a popular form of art throughout the 3D printing community. Apps like CreateLitho and have made it effortless to take photos and transform them into three dimensional etches. These 3D printed lithophanes make for fantastic gifts or household decorations, and with a bit of light, they usually look fantastically detailed.

One Indian maker named Prajjwal (known on YouTube as MakerwithRex) has taken this 3D printing trend to the next level, taking the idea of the lithophane and transforming it into a customizable 3D printed lamp.

The maker recently shared the step-by-step process on how to build your own Lithophane Lamp on Instructables. With this project, you can shine a light onto your fondest family moments or favorite superhero. It also makes for the most personalized gift imaginable, warming the heart and lighting up the room.

Here’s everything you need to know in order to undertake the Lithophane Lamp project.

3D Printed Lithophane Lamp: What Do You Need?

As you might have assumed by now, you’re going to need a 3D printer to start the Lithophane Lamp project. Prajjwal also recommends using White PLA (for the lithophane) and Black PLA (for the stand). The STL files for the frame of the lamp are available via Thingiverse.  There are also a handful of electronic components and tools on the bucket list.

Here’s what else you’ll need:

LED Strip
DC Jack
Soldering Iron
Wire Cutter

3D Printed Lithophane Lamp: Putting it All Together

The first step to creating your own 3D printed Lithophane Lamp is, as you might expect, making a lithophane. Prajjwal recommends using, which is an easy-to-use website that converts any image into a 3D lithophane. Keep in mind that the 3D printed lamp has four sides, which means you can create a quartet of brightened 3D photos for the project.

You need to change the image from negative to positive, and also make the dimensions 65 x 65 x 3 mm to fit the lamp. The maker states that he 3D printed the lithophane models with a 0.2 mm layer height.

On his Instructables post, Prajjwal also shows how he designed the 3D printed holder on Autodesk Fusion 360. If you’re interested in learning more about 3D design, you can follow his steps and recreate your own holder. Otherwise, you can just download and 3D print the one he provides on Thingiverse.

To mount the LED, you’ll tin the wire and solder it to the LED strip. Prajjwal explains that he wound the LED strip on the cylinder as closely as possible. Then, push the wire out through the DC jack hole and solder it to the female DC jack. The hole is designed to fit the jack snugly, so just push it inside once the soldering is complete.

Since the LED light gave off a harsh light, the maker and YouTuber also designed and 3D printed a diffuser to mellow out the lighting. To do so, he took the sketch of the holder and added an outer shell.

Finally, it’s time to assemble your Lithophane Lamp. Insert the 3D printed lithophane frames into the holder and upper fixture. Add the diffuser, plug it in, and watch as your photos come to life.

Interested in learning more about the Lithophane Lamp? Check out the full details on Prajjwal’s Instructables post.

The post Weekend Project: Brighten Memories with the 3D Printed Lithophane Lamp appeared first on All3DP.

March 23, 2018 at 09:05PM
via All3DPAll3DP

Boston Dynamics VP of Engineering Talks About 3D printing

Boston Dynamics VP of Engineering Talks About 3D printing
By Bulent Yusuf

boston dynamics

The VP of Engineering at Boston Dynamics visits a small town in Germany to explain how 3D printing and fluid power contributed to dramatic weight savings and power efficiency in the latest generation of their Atlas humanoid robot.

In the city of Aachen, Germany this past week, more than 650 “fluid power” manufacturers, specialists and academics had gathered to talk about the latest innovations in hydraulics and pneumatics technology.

The closing keynote was by Aaron Saunders, VP of Engineering at Boston Dynamics, who spoke about the role that fluid power and additive manufacturing have played in the development of their Atlas humanoid robot.

To the uninitiated, Boston Dynamics is robotics company based in Massachusetts, made famous by their YouTube channel featuring bipedal and animal-like robots that jump, run, and even do back-flips. So famous, in fact, that Google decided to buy them.

The subject of Saunder’s talk was about building Atlas, and the continuous process of redesign and refinement. The story began in 2009, where Boston Dynamics literally sawed one of their quadrupeds in half to make a biped robot.

“In 2012, there was a big competition started in the U.S. to use mobile robots to use in disaster response scenarios, and the government asked them to build 10 robots to give to universities to learn how to access these difficult trends,” Saunders said.

Boston Dynamics used off-the-shelf components to put this hydraulic robot together, which was 2 meters tall, self-contained, and weighed nearly 200kg.

“In 2015, we got the opportunity — when we were acquired by Google — to really look inside and focus on things that we thought were important. We used the opportunity to redesign this humanoid robot from the ground up, and we ended up with a robot that’s very similar. It has all the same strength and range of mobility.”

This newer Atlas model is about 1.5 meters tall and weighs 80 kg. It has an increased strength density to near human levels, is completely power autonomous (running between 30-60 minutes, depending on acitivity) and has 28 degrees of freedom. 3D printing technology has played a key role in this version of Atlas.

“When we started the program, I’d read a lot of glossy magazine ads about how 3D printing was here. You could use it, you could print and go. That’s not quite true, but it is a very promising technology and it’s evolving rapidly,” Saunders said.

Boston Dynamics Achieves Greater Efficiency with 3D Printing

The robot’s leg makeup was, Saunders enthuses, “probably our biggest undertaking. We learned a lot of lessons … we integrated the structure, the manifold and the fluid routing and actuator cylinders all into one structure.”

“We were able to reduce limb inertia significantly, which is a big deal for a walking robot — most of the power in the system goes to swinging the legs through the air and accelerating and stopping them. You do very little work on the world when you’re a biped and you’re walking — you’re actually very efficient. But you need a lot of power to swing legs, especially when they’re heavy, so this was a big deal,” he said.

“We have a saying in our company called the bleeding edge. A lot of people talk about leading edge technology and the leading edge for us is when you’re going too far. The leg was very challenging because there was a lot of stuff integrated into it. Just finding a company to hone an actuator cylinder in a 3D printed material that had never been qualified before is a massive challenge. The number of close processing steps you have to go through as opposed to traditional machining really started to erode some of the benefits. In the end, we still saw that benefit in the inertia, but the effort to get this part out was quite significant,” Saunders said.

Similarly, the Hydraulic Power Unit (HPU) uses 3D printing to achieve greater efficiency.

“It’s approaching a kilovolt per kg of density, it’s pretty scalable,” he said. “It sits in the center of the robot. It has everything it needs to collect electrical power and put hydraulic power out … All the homeostasis, sensing, filtration, dump valves, everything we need for the power plant is integrated into a printed part. This lets us wrap everything really tightly around the reservoir—and uses empty space that’s otherwise not used.”

Atlas’ manifold has 18 valves, which service the upper body of the robot.

“This is where we are getting close to a sweet spot in printing,” Saunders said, “so we can make very organic structures and minimize pressure drops—get rid of a lot of excess components. It’s kind of exciting, the things that can be done in printing manifolds.”

But, he emphasized, he wants to see more component manufacturers come forward and expand their offerings for uses like robotics.

“For us, I think one of the big things is the availability of small components. I would love to be able to come to a group like this and find more components on the human scale for mobile applications,” Saunders said.

“Developing that valve was really fun, but we’re a robotics company — and we’d like to do more robotics and less component development. So, finding places that work with people to develop these small components on the timescales that are relevant is an area that it’d be great to see more of.”

Source: Design World

boston dynamics

The post Boston Dynamics VP of Engineering Talks About 3D printing appeared first on All3DP.

March 23, 2018 at 06:55PM
via All3DPAll3DP