This paper aims to present a multi-axis additive robot manufacturing system (ARMS) and demonstrate its beneficial capabilities.
ARMS was constructed around two robot arms and a fused filament fabrication (FFF) extruder. Quantitative experiments are conducted to investigate the effect of printing at different orientations with respect to gravity, the effect of dynamically changing build orientation with respect to the build tray when printing overhanging features, the effect of printing curved parts using curved, conformal layers. These capabilities are combined to print an integrated demonstrator showing potential practical benefits of the system.
Orientation with respect to gravity has no effect on print quality; dynamically changing build orientation allows overhangs up to 90° to be cleanly printed without support structures; printing an arch with conformal layers significantly increases its strength compared to conventional printing.
The challenge of automatic slicing algorithms has not been addressed for multi-axis printing. It is shown that ARMS could eventually enable printing of fully-functional prototypes with embedded components.
This work is the first to prove that the surface roughness of an FFF part is independent of print orientation with respect to gravity. The use of two arms creates a novel system with more degrees of freedom than existing multi-axis printers, enabling studies on printing orientation relationships and printing around inserts. It also adds to the emerging body of multi-axis literature by verifying that curved layers improve the strength of an arch which is steeply curved and printed with the nozzle remaining normal to the curvature.
Fry, N., Richardson, R. and Boyle, J. (2020), "Robotic additive manufacturing system for dynamic build orientations", Rapid Prototyping Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/RPJ-09-2019-0243Download as .RIS
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