Manufacturing of Soft Robotics

by Adriana Cabrera
Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences FabLab Kamp-Lintfort

Pneumatic driven shape-change tnterface by using surface construction

Basically, in this exercise, we make a pneumatic construction using the technique of surface interfacing by making a sandwich of two sheets of vinyl thermo-lapped, or thermo-polyurethane, and in the middle an insulating sheet that can be Teflon. However, a cheaper version and made for the projects DIY is the baking paper, this technique is used in the T-shirt printing method using the press for transfer. described in the following presentation:


Design the piece of pneumatic thinking about of the shape-changing motion that you want to achieve: In this case, you can consider in the following shapes presented in the following examples

Surface Constrution for Pneumatic driven Shape-change Interface folding pattern

120° one module

120° decrease in the hinge thickness

Shrink folding pattern

The essential rules as that you have to connect all the chambers for the air/ fluid circulation

  1. All the channels must be connected to the entrance of the air and the tube
  2. Consider in your design the sealing allowance, to isolate well your pnematic
  3. consider also that some of the thick materials can barely perform thin shapes, in the case for in detail design; please use thin vinyl.
  4. Remember that a piece must be the mirror shape in the case of asymmetric pieces.

Preheat the heat press depending on the temperature of the vinyl, c.a.120° - 140° C.
You can use the vinyl cutter to cut delicate pieces that require more precision or natural nice looking.
After having the cut of these two feet in need to put the insulating foot between the middle.
Make sure that in the middle there is a thin piece of baking paper for the air tube inlet.
Put two sheets of baking paper or Teflon sheets at the base of the dam and the top.
Press the material for 15 seconds. and wait for it to cool down.
Remove the pieces of protective material gently for the vinyl pieces making sure not to break the vinyl.
Insert the tube in the Inflatable and isolate it using a shrink tube and a lighter or heat gun.
Proceed to inflate and have fun with your device

From 3D to 2D Exactflat Plugin

Exaxtflat is a software that makes the process flatting patterns faster and less complicated to design, develop, prototype, cost and manufacture any product that incorporates composites, industrial fabrics or technical textiles. Integrated with leading 3D CAD packages, it does this by:

  1. Replacing manual processes with digital processes using Exactflat’s proprietary algorithms.
  2. Consolidating separate and distinct workflows into one environment on one platform.
  3. Parametrically linking related tasks so that design changes in one area are automatically reflected in related areas.
FabLab Kamp-Lintfort
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