Agile Manufacturing in Robotics with 3D Printing

Agile Manufacturing in Robotics with 3D Printing


RightHand Labs is a part of RightHand Robotics
that sells the hardware that we’re designing to the research community. We use the Form 2 to do prototyping of components
that are going into our ReFlex Hand and our industrial systems. We used the Formlabs’ Flexible Resin to prototype our fingers. Because our fingers are compliant there aren’t a lot of technologies out there
that we can prototype in that mimic that sort of compliance. We like to do a lot of small batch and short
run production because it gives us the flexibility to change the design without sinking a lot of cost into the tooling. We’re using the Form 2 in our manufacturing
process to create molds that we then use to cast other materials like urethanes. The way that we make the fingers for RightHand Robotics is we have a 3D printed core and some electronics and we stick that into a mold, pour rubber around it and then take it out, stick it into a secondary mold and
over-mold around that. The unique value that 3D printing adds for the mold-makingcasting process is basically cost and speed. It’s easy to make a change, print a mold,
make a few castings and then test it and see if it works. The really cool thing about RightHand Robotics
using this process is that they’re able to make design changes during production. So they’re able to produce 20 units that
they can actually sell. And we can do that because we’re 3D printing
the molds and 3D printing the cores so we’re not having this really high investment in tooling. I think being flexible with your design process
ultimately gives your customers a better product Any problem or idea that we come across during
manufacturing or testing, we like to get into the final production version of our hands right away Having a cheaper access to prototyping really
changes the whole design process. For us, having access to that technology as
a relatively small company is a complete game changer because otherwise we would have to send out for it. There’s no way we could afford, you know, an eighty thousand dollar printer but we can afford the Formlabs printer.

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