Dec.27, 2013

What if your 3D printer's print bed had no limit? A team of students (team members Jia Wu, Mary Sek, and Jeff Maeshiro) in San Francisco, California have designed and created a thermoplastic 3D printing hexapod, a six-legged, twelve-servo walking robot. Geoweaver is made from lasercut and 3d printed parts made on a Type A Next Generation Series 1 3D printer.

The design is based on a 12-servo hexapod with a glue gun extruder attached. The center mechanism uses two servos to control the print head, allowing it to cover a basic XY plane, and one servo for the extrusion gear that forces the glue-sticks through the print head.

Print geometries are projected to the ground while thermoplastic is extruded from above and build up layer by layer. It can build a variety of print shapes, with multiple walk types GeoWeaver can cover unstable terrains. It can walk in a straight line, a curved line, rotate, dance, and print while walking, it can tackle slopes, as well as step over obstacles. This hexapod has been designed to be controlled by an Arduino Uno taking commands directly from Firefly, a plug-in for the CAD software Rhinoceros 3D created by their professor Jason Kelly Johnson.

Geoweaver utilizes a webcam and reacTIVision fiducial markers to calculate its position, and topographical information is calibrated to ensuing accurate printing paths. According to the team, at a larger scale Geoweaver has the potential to bring satellite level intelligence to actors on the ground and data can be translated to print-making on the ground.

The team has published an Instructable detailing how to build Geoweaver, including all cut and 3D print files here.


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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