This robot can 3D print anything anywhere.
Generally speaking, 3D printers can be quite bulky. And, the objects they are capable of printing are often limited to their own build volume. That is unless you’re a group of Rio de Janeiro researchers who have set out to put the wheels in motion, literally.
A collaboration between two labs from PUC-Rio’s design program, the team developed a solution that may very well pave the way for future printers. 3&Dbot is billed as being the world’s first autonomous 3D printing robot. Tethered to a base with four omni wheels, the entire printer can move to and fro in any direction, depending upon the print data it is fed. The device is driven by an Atmel based Arduino board and can be wirelessly controlled.
The robot still requires a flat surface to work on, however the size of a part or object it can create is nearly limitless. TUIO fiducial markers are used to ensure pinpoint accuracy of its mechanism and position within a field of motion. Though the machine’s extruder is not heated, it can easily be modified to include one. It is capable of printing in a variety of materials including ceramics, modeling clay and other paste-like substances.
Once a model is too tall for the robot to add layers to, unlike other printers, 3&Dbot can easily 3D print a temporary raised structure around it to drive up onto and continue working.