Highly conductive 3D printable gallium alloy shows promise for flexible electronics

3D printable gallium alloy

Researchers in Oregon State University’s College of Engineering have taken a key step toward the rapid manufacture of flexible computer screens and other stretchable electronic devices, including soft robots.

The advance by a team within the college’s Collaborative Robotics and Intelligent Systems Institute paves the way toward the 3D printing of tall, complicated structures with a highly conductive gallium alloy.

Researchers put nickel nanoparticles into the liquid metal, galinstan, to thicken it into a paste with a consistency suitable for additive manufacturing.

“The runny alloy was impossible to layer into tall structures,” said Yiğit Mengüç, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and co-corresponding author on the study. “With the paste-like texture, it can be layered while maintaining its capacity to flow, and to stretch inside of rubber tubes. We demonstrated the potential of our discovery by 3D printing a very stretchy two-layered circuit whose layers weave in and out of each other without touching.”

Findings were recently published in Advanced Materials Technologies. Continue reading “Highly conductive 3D printable gallium alloy shows promise for flexible electronics”

Fraunhofer ILT’s LaserTAB Combines Welding, 3D Printing and Robotics

Fraunhofer ILT’s LaserTAB

Fraunhofer ILT’s LaserTAB Combines Welding, 3D Printing and Robotics

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed itself. In focus is a new light-weight robot (LBR is German for lightweight robot) developed by Kuka Roboter GmbH from Augsburg. According to company statements, not only is the LBR iiwa, or “intelligent industrial work assistant (iiwa)”, the first sensitive robot to be manufactured in series, but it also helps man and robot work closely together. Continue reading “Fraunhofer ILT’s LaserTAB Combines Welding, 3D Printing and Robotics”

University of Sydney Researchers Create First 3D Printed Fiber Optics with Desktop 3D Printer (Video)

Recently, we covered some exciting research being pursued by the University of Southampton relating to the use of 3D printing for the creation of uniquely shaped fiber optics. Though their technique will likely involve the selective laser sintering of pure glass powder, it has been brought to my attention by one 3DPI reader that Southampton’s project is not the first to unite 3D printing and fiber optics. Continue reading “University of Sydney Researchers Create First 3D Printed Fiber Optics with Desktop 3D Printer (Video)”

3D Printed Robot that Tutors, DJs & Protects Home Launches on Kickstarter for $499

He sees. He listens. He understands. With a Kickstarter campaign hoping to raise $10K, and halfway through its launch, the XLR-ONE Personal Robot Companion is gaining ground toward fruition steadily — with good reason. How many kids can say they had a robot help them with their homework last night? Continue reading “3D Printed Robot that Tutors, DJs & Protects Home Launches on Kickstarter for $499”

The Pi Tank – 3D Printed Open Source Smartphone Controlled Raspberry Pi Robot

We are finally beginning to see trends emerge within the desktop 3D printing space, and these trends are pointing in a direction of convergence between 3D printing and robotics. Thanks in a big way to a credit card-sized computer known as the Raspberry Pi, virtually anyone can create their own robotic devices. Continue reading “The Pi Tank – 3D Printed Open Source Smartphone Controlled Raspberry Pi Robot”

Meet Poppy, the printable robot

An open-source, 3D-printed robot is set to inspire innovation in classrooms. Meet Poppy, the first completely open-source, 3D printed, humanoid robot. Poppy is a robot that anybody can build and program. That means it’s not just a tool for scientists and engineers: the team of developers aims to make it part of vocational training in schools, giving students the opportunity to experiment. Continue reading “Meet Poppy, the printable robot”

Wunderkind Inventor Seeks Funding for 3D Printable Robotic Exoskeleton (VIDEO)

The 3D printing industry is full of brilliant people who have used their minds to change the world in some pretty spectacular ways. But, even among all of them, there aren’t many out there like Easton LaChappelle. At the tender age of 14 he used legos, fishing wire, and scavenged electronic parts to create a working robotic hand. Continue reading “Wunderkind Inventor Seeks Funding for 3D Printable Robotic Exoskeleton (VIDEO)”

Pakistani Students Create 3D Printed Mobile Obstacle Avoidance Robots with Help from LearnOBots

From my talks with several CEOs of large 3D printing companies, one topic always comes up, one that many of these companies are very passionate about. That topic is 3D printing in schools. It is inevitable that 3D printing will make its way into schools all around the world, but the question that remains is, ‘when?’ Continue reading “Pakistani Students Create 3D Printed Mobile Obstacle Avoidance Robots with Help from LearnOBots”

The Swarmscapers: Students Create 3D Printing Robots Capable of Building in Outlying Areas

Imagine a reality of 3D printing robots, in a community unto themselves, diligently working in unpredictable temperatures and conditions, strong and steady — just taking care of business. Efficiently. Perfectly. Without complaint. This is what a group of student architects are perfecting with the Swarmscapers. Continue reading “The Swarmscapers: Students Create 3D Printing Robots Capable of Building in Outlying Areas”