Saturday, May 25, 2013


Like a glue gun on a robot arm...

We've always described the RepRap in simplistic terms as being like a glue gun on a robot arm. Well, someone has taken this rather literally. It's actually quite invigorating to see people attempting to make more challenging structures than stacks of 2D planar laminations, and we've seen people using repraps to do this before, but the Mataerial people seem to have it worked out pretty well.

Interesting method. Looks like two hotair guns activating a two part epoxy foam or polymer foaming resin. Somewhat disappointing to see they are pushing it as patent-pending though already...

I would like to see a newer gen spin on the reprap to bypass the need for filament feed material deposition and fusion. Also a multiple axis multi-jointed freedom of movement extruder/heater or other media delivery mechanism would be interesting. It would increase complexity and cost but it would be doable to print many of the articulation parts for a newer arm or other appendage tooling from one of the current units to advance the system.

I've got a couple of ideas on improvements to get shed of the requirement of filament feed media throughput and to use IR diode laser devices to replace the current heater or hotend systems.I have been thinking about a system to basically powder or otherwise sufficiently pulverize the plastic to allow delivery on or with a liquid or other fairly low viscosity agent that would evaporate or decompose from controlled heating pulses from the IR diode device in an inert or non-reactive manner that doesn't contaminate or embedded in the plastic fusion. Possibilities to dispense or extrude the plastic media are either some form of inkjet or maybe a hypodermic extrusion of sorts.

Coupling a multi axis movement arm with the combination of an updated heater and updated extrusion or otherwise build media delivery might really open up even more exciting and useful build opportunities for the opensource 3D print platform to make more complex structures more efficiently and with potentially less build material waste or loss.

I have been on the hunt for a suitable buy/deal on a used or surplus or decommissioned Yaskawa Motoman or other similar multi-axis multiple degrees of freedom robotic arm unit to try on couple of projects such as this or some sort of metal shaping/forming processes.
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