This is the second and final installment of this little series we have created on designing and 3D printing a relief-aid Mech robot. In the last tutorial we covered the design process and the techniques used. In this tutorial we will be covering the 3D printing process and assembly of the Mech robot.
Once all the files were ready we sliced them and prepared them all for printing. All the parts were printed at a 0.2mm layer height and most of them without support. The printing process was almost flawless and everything went as planned. Once you know your machine it is much easier to have flawless prints.
The only issue we had was the tolerance. The machine we used is for this project is an upgrade to our previous machine, so the tolerance gap we usually use was too loose. We learned that this new machine can achieve up to 0.3mm tolerances where before we could only reach up to 0.5mm.
The fingers were experiments with a new joining technique. Instead of 3D printing pins, we decided to use a slightly thinker raw printer material and used some 3mm filament as pins, slipping them into the holes and creating a point for the joins to move on. We can now use this technique on any future project.
Going back to the loose tolerances, this made the model very puppet-like with the hanging arms and it couldn’t stand on its own. Our solution was an acrylic rod which we attached to a base and a drilled a hole in the bottom of the robot. This creates a neat stand which can demonstrate how the robot should stand. You could reprint the bottom of the robot to have a hole to fit perfectly but as it was all glued together already and it could have run a risk of breaking parts if we attempted to split it up.
All of the articulation we were looking for worked. The shoulder could rotate 360 degrees and could move out at 180 degrees. This can allow for freedom of movement to reach almost anywhere. The rest of the joins work perfectly and you could learn and discover the full movement capabilities with this to see if any refinements are needed.
The model also simulates how the roof is designed to open, allowing the pilot to get in and out of the mech. If we chose to, we could later add details to the interior. Using the same type of hinge in the model could help demonstrate what the interior would look like and how the pilot would be seated in a later stage of the project.
These new developments can be brought on from one simple design and 3D print. From here this project could be taken to new heights; the mechanism and robots could be investigated and further developed to create a full-size working product that could change the world. With 3D printing becoming more accessible and easier to keep in-home or in-office, confidential projects can be both designed and prototyped, thus eliminating the need for cumbersome NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements) in the early stages of development.
From prosthetics to organ replacements, or even the initial development stages of a machine that will change the world and help humanity, 3D printing can be used to change the world.