Robotic Compound Fabrication
KUKA Digital Fabrication
2010-2011, KUKA Robotic Arm & ABS / HDPE Extrusion
MIT Medial Lab
A multipurpose fabrication platform capable of additive, subtractive, and formative manufacturing techniques was developed based on a six axis robotic arm. The designed system explores how a single manipulator can be used in a flexible manufacturing application to perform operations typically done with standalone machines. Processes from each of the traditional fabrication categories (additive, subtractive, and formative) were demonstrated by the system to explore potential benefits and drawbacks of an integrated manufacturing platform. Example processes developed include 3D printing (additive), multi-axis milling (subtractive), and sculpting (formative). The use of various end effectors enables the single arm to perform many types of operations while maintaining part orientation and calibration. By combining processes, such as 3D printing and milling, compound operations are developed to offer advantages and new possibilities. Finally, a multipurpose fabrication platform reduces the cost and physical machine footprint as opposed to multiple traditional standalone counterparts.
This research was sponsored by the NSF EAGER award: Bio-Beams: FGM Digital Design & Fabrication.