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Author Topic: Robot electronic circuit printed directly on the chassis  (Read 6223 times)

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Offline Ro-Bot-XTopic starter

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Robot electronic circuit printed directly on the chassis
« on: August 27, 2007, 09:06:14 AM »
This is an image taken by prof Adrian Bowyer of a electronics circuit printed directly on the chassis of a robot by a rapid prototyper:



You can read the article here:

http://technology.newscientist.com/article/dn7165
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Offline HDL_CinC_Dragon

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Re: Robot electronic circuit printed directly on the chassis
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2007, 09:15:12 AM »
Thats pretty darn interesting...

Im noticing though they show batters and capacitors and other components in the image. I want to see the raw output of the machine, awesome none-the-less
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Offline Ro-Bot-XTopic starter

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Re: Robot electronic circuit printed directly on the chassis
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2007, 09:58:16 AM »
They say the metal is something similar to solder, so after the circuit is printed, just place the components over the traces and melt them a little with the soldering iron and it's all done.

But the most interesting part is that the printer can build the chassis and the circuit at the same time, from the same CAD file, even integrating the metal traces in plastic. I think that with a little ingenuity parts can be placed during a short break in the process and have them soldered and encapsulated in plastic.

Actually, using a pick and place end efector along the nozels, the whole process can be automated. Just pick the SMD part, drop a small dot of melted plastic, place the part there, build around it!
« Last Edit: August 27, 2007, 10:02:07 AM by Ro-Bot-X »
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Offline HDL_CinC_Dragon

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Re: Robot electronic circuit printed directly on the chassis
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2007, 10:14:44 AM »
Well yeah I know that much, I read the article too :)
But I mean I wanted to see what the device can do on its own right now. Wouldnt be much of a hassle to solder stuff to it on your own(b/c I like soldering lol) but that would indeed be really cool if it could do that on its own... Have a small Pick-n-Place arm hold the resistor there while the solder jet travels over its leads in the necessary places. Very very nice applications here.

Though I dont think it would be good to have the circuit completely enclosed in the plastic because of a couple reasons:
1) The circuits would build up more heat because there was no airflow directly to them to remove the heat, the 3D printer would have to add in copper heat pipes for the heat to rush out of there or something
2) If something goes wrong in the circuit, its not an easy to fix job anymore. You would have to remove layers of plastic just to begin testing with your DMM to see where a circuit has failed. (Simply reprinting the whole thing would be a waste of resources and with our planets resources already going "oh ****" I dont think thats a viable option :P)

Cant really come up with any more reasons ATM but I think those 2 are well enough for not encapsulated circuitry :)

But still, 3D printers might never be completely automated for building robots/circuits, but they are definitely an invaluable tool to the trade.
To make it automated, you would simply just have to add in all the solder it would need into the machine, and add in the components that your circuit diagram needs and hope the machine knows which is which(with probably wouldnt be so hard since every component has Identifiers on it, Resistor color codes, capacitors with there ratings, ICs with very unique serial numbers and date codes, etc. Resistor wattage tolerances using a digital caliper and such)
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Offline Steve Joblin

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Re: Robot electronic circuit printed directly on the chassis
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2007, 04:35:31 PM »
Neat stuff, but I must say the idea is not totally new... I purchased a Descarte Robot from Diversified Robotics about 9 years ago that uses the circuit board as the body of the robot.  The company is long since out of business, but I found a picture of it at http://web.comlab.ox.ac.uk/oucl/work/stephen.cameron/sheepdog/descartes.gif

Offline paulstreats

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Re: Robot electronic circuit printed directly on the chassis
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2007, 06:26:53 PM »
also notice the excellent bump sensor design around the edge

Offline Ro-Bot-XTopic starter

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Re: Robot electronic circuit printed directly on the chassis
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2007, 12:30:10 AM »
Hey Steve, that robot looks like Asuro!

It's made by Arexx Engineering.
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Offline Steve Joblin

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Re: Robot electronic circuit printed directly on the chassis
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2007, 11:27:03 AM »
There are a few bots that look very similar to this design... I thnk the tabrobot (http://www.tabrobotkit.com/) also follows the same design concepts

Offline Del

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Re: Robot electronic circuit printed directly on the chassis
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2007, 12:51:34 PM »

Solarbotics tends to use this method:












Offline Ro-Bot-XTopic starter

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Re: Robot electronic circuit printed directly on the chassis
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2007, 12:57:42 PM »
Yes, this is a nice way to build a robot. But all of them use a custom made PCB. The robot that I have mentioned in the first post have a circuit hot printed on plastic, not on a fiberglass board, using a CNC with a seringe instead of a router bit. I think anyone who has a CNC can retrofit it to build such a circuit.
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