When it comes to future construction, 3D printing appears as a popular choice. Researchers from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University have propelled that idea one step further by showing two 3D-printing robots working together to complete a singular project.
“Roboticists at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have, for the first time (as far as they know), performed ‘the actual printing of a single-piece concrete structure by two mobile robots operating concurrently,’” says Evan Ackerman in IEEE Spectrum.
For device control, the team used ROS, while utilizing the Ubuntu operating system for system control. Planning and collision checks were taken care of by the testing environment OpenRAVE.
In addition to working in tandem as seen in the video below, the robots’ mobility is also important to highlight. Small, 3D-printed parts may need to undergo on-site assembly in real-life scenarios. However, this process often carries with it weaknesses and complications.
To avoid printing tiny pieces and assembling them later, the Singapore team used robotic arms on mobile platforms. This allowed the machines to work together on a large, single-piece, 3D-printed structure.
The team will continue improving the proof of concept, hoping to extend the robotic arms’ reach and increasing print speed.
The research is outlined in the article, “Large-scale 3D printing by a team of mobile robots,” published in Automation in Construction.
Filed Under: 3D printing • additive manufacturing • stereolithography, Industrial automation, Robotics • robotic grippers • end effectors