Direct 3D Printing of Silicone Elastomer Soft Robots without Support Public Deposited


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  • Soft robotics utilizes compliant materials (such as rubber) to make robots that are flexible and safe around humans, however these materials present many practical manufacturing challenges. Current fabrication methods use molding techniques which limits the soft robot designs which could be fabricated and impacts part consistency. This defense introduces a novel extrusion-based Additive Manufacturing method for soft robot fabrication. Platinum-cure silicones are successfully printed using an active mixing extruder head and heating treatment. Both techniques are designed to control the formation of the material's gel state for extrusion. Linear and curling actuators are fabricated with this technique, as well as a four-chamber soft tentacle and a multi-gait crawler. What is demonstrated is the first step of extrusion-based additive manufacturing development for soft robots. After the addition of liquid metal printing and the refinement of the additive and heat treatment this will provide soft roboticists with a fabrication method which will allow for more complex and consistent soft robot designs.
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Last modified: 02/20/2018

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