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Thread: 3D Printing for Humanoids

  1. 3D Printing for Humanoids

    One of the things we're experimenting with over at the Brain Engineering Lab is finding better ways to build custom parts. Most of the parts for BrainBot have been machined on a CNC milling machine (Sherline) - the chest compartment is a good example.
    It is made from 1/4" and 1/8" Delrin plate, machined to fit, with a lot of machine screws to hold the whole thing together.

    Its fairly labor-intensive, and not really a good use of my time, since we want to build a number of this particular model.

    So, since Dartmouth College has a machine shop on-campus which has a Dimension 3D printer, we've been experimenting with printing some of the parts. The grippers were an obvious part, but the chest compartment is a real challenge.

    I've finished the CAD model of the first revision of the "printed" chest, and its an interesting comparison to compare it with the machined chest. Once I get the actual printed chest in my hands, I'll post a picture of it here.

    Anyways, here are the CAD models of the two techniques. First, the machined chest:




    This chest is comprised of ten different pieces, all of which are machined to shape on my CNC mill, with dozens of holes, some threaded, some not (which is very labor intensive).

    Here's the printed chest:



    Two pieces, both printed (the darker piece is the circuit board support). All the holes are pre-drilled, and the ones requiring threads can just be threaded directly with a tap. For tapping plastic, I typically just put the tap in my cordless drill and use that, which makes it much faster for threading holes.

    The nice thing with the printed chest (aside from the labor-saving) is it looks much better, and the support pieces and brackets can all be integrated into the piece as it is printed.

    - Jon

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    Re: 3D Printing for Humanoids

    I always wondered what using those 3D printers was like. How do you like using it so far?

    I take it you feed the printer your CAD drawing and it goes to town?

    Good luck on this project Jon! I bet it's going to be a challenging one Keep us posted!

    �In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed�
    - Charles Darwin

  3. Re: 3D Printing for Humanoids

    Yeah, using a 3D printer is a real kick. Wish I had one at home :-)

    You basically build a solid shape in CAD, which can have fairly arbitrary shapes.



    That's the new gripper I did - all the white parts to the left of the servos are printed on a 3D printer from ABS. The fingers have indents for touch sensors, and hollow channels through the middle for the sensor wires to go.

    Once you have the model done, you export it in STL format, and send it to the printer. It takes several minutes to several hours to print the shape, depending on how much material it needs to use, and how much support material it needs to print.

    - Jon

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    Re: 3D Printing for Humanoids

    Hey Jon,

    Your post made me think of Techshop. They had an area out at Makers Faire this summer and that's where I found out about them. It's a pretty cool idea, description from website:

    "TechShop is a fully-equipped open-access workshop and creative environment that lets you drop in any time and work on your own projects at your own pace. It is like a health club with tools and equipment instead of exercise equipment...or a Kinko's for geeks. TechShop was founded in 2006 by Jim Newton, a lifetime maker, veteran BattleBots builder and former MythBuster. "

  5. Re: 3D Printing for Humanoids

    Yeah, if there was anything like that here, I'd definitely be a lifetime member...

    Today I did the CAD model for a new camera mount, which looks like this:



    Its basically a mount for a pair of Swann Blackhawk wireless cameras. We've decided to use these cameras on the walking version of BrainBot, since they weigh only 32 grams each, as opposed to the green wireless cameras on the first BrainBot, which weigh in at a hefty 230 grams each.

    - Jon

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    Re: 3D Printing for Humanoids

    Great stuff Jon!

    What kind of software do are you using for the stereoscopic vision?

    �In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed�
    - Charles Darwin

  7. Re: 3D Printing for Humanoids

    I'm not - the Brain Engineering guys have their own vision system they're working on.

    - Jon

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    Re: 3D Printing for Humanoids

    We bought that same wireless camera to try to attach the the X-ufo so we could fly it remotely. After about 2 minutes of trying to control the X-ufo we gave up on any hope that we would ever be able to fly it by watching a monitor in another room. Our dreams were smashed

    I liked the camera though! So small and light!

  9. Re: 3D Printing for Humanoids

    Yeah, that's the main reason I picked the camera - its weight. Plus, it has its own built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery, and each camera can be switched to any of the available four channels.

    - Jon

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    Re: 3D Printing for Humanoids

    Hey Jon,

    Is this the same company that does your Vision Software:

    http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release.do?id=770867

    �In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed�
    - Charles Darwin

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