Desktop Rapid Prototyping Millirobots
The goal of the NSF supported Desktop Rapid Prototyping Millirobots project
is to develop a system that would provide the user with the ability to
fabricate millimeter-sized mechatronic devices in an automated fashion.
This envisioned automated assembly would include the construction of the
3-D structure (the robot's body) and the attachment of actuators, sensors,
and any necessary wiring.
Our current focus has been on automating the building of the 3-D structure
and the attachment of strain gages (as an example of a sensor). We
accomplish this through the use of a kit of parts, customizable pallets,
and the Ortho-tweezers
system which is the main component of the desktop rapid prototyping
system for dextrous manipulation (developed by Eiji Shimada and Jeff Thompson).
Overview of the Rapid Prototyping Procedure for Automated Construction
The kit of parts is assembled using the
although the stainless steel triangles require additional assembly
we developed. Once the kit of parts has been established
the user can select the needed parts from this kit (step 1 in the picture
above) and assemble them on a customizable pallet and insert this pallet
for the assembly into the 2D pattern (steps 2 and 3). (Because the
Ortho-tweezers can manipulate rectangular parts well, we extend its capabilities
to other shapes by attaching a rectangular handling block to the object
to be manipulated.) This process is shown below. Once the 2D
pattern has been assembled it is folded into the 3D structure (step 4).
(This step is done by hand since at this stage we are no longer dealing
with micron sized parts).
Customizable Pallet and Manipulation of Parts by the Ortho-tweezers (details
of steps 2 and 3 above)
This figure shows a sample pallet
containing (from left to right)
the handling blocks, low melting point wax, needed kit parts, and final
The Ortho-tweezers are picking up a handling block and dipping it in the
low melting point wax.
The handling block is being attached to one of the parts that need to be
The Ortho-tweezers are reorienting the part and placing in its final configuration.
Final Product Examples
|4 Bar Mechanism (made
with carbon fiber and polyester parts)
||1 Degree of Freedom
Wrist (made with stainless steel and polyester parts)
This research is sponsored by the
NSF DMII Program.
``This material is based upon work supported by the National Science
Foundation under Grant No. DMI-0115091. Any opinions, findings and conclusions
or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s)
and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation