If you’re sick and tired of hearing about 3-D printing and all the dinky plastic crap it creates, I think I’ve found a robot that can restore your faith in the technology.
For its latest creation, the Joris Laarman Studio decided to go all industrial-metal. The Dutch-based “experimental playground” developed an enormous robotic arm that sculpts with molten metal.
The MX3D-Metal robot, a take off on the studio’s resin printer, is a essentially an advanced welding machine that’s able to print with metals such as stainless steel, aluminum, bronze or copper.
The studio explains that welding robot is driven by various types of software that work in tandem to essentially trace computer-designed lines. Those trajectories are relayed to the robotic arm, which “prints” the metal sculpture. Eventually, a user friendly interface will allow creations to be printed directly from computer-aided design programs.
“We are developing printing strategies for the different kinds of 3D-printable ‘lines’,” developers explained. “For instance, vertical ,horizontal or spiraling lines require different settings, such as pulse time, pause-time, layer height or tool orientation. All this information is being incorporated in the software.”
These lines can be printed to intersect and create self-supporting structures. “This method makes it possible to create 3-D objects on any given working surface independently of its inclination and smoothness in almost any size and shape,” designers stated.
For now, serpentine sculptures are cool, but I could see the robot making a pretty rad jungle gym. Check out the MX3D-Metal in action with the following video. Just don’t forget to put on your welding goggles.
Credit: Joris Laarman Studio