ROBOCHOP! It Slices, Dices, But Wait! There’s More…

You’re gunna love my cuts. 

KUKA robots are cool. They’re both elegant and terrifying to watch in action as they move unyieldingly to preform tasks. Not many of us get to use industrial tools like this because they aren’t exactly trivial to wield (or cheap!). Artists [Clemens Weisshaar] and [Reed Kram] however created an installation that allows anyone to potentially control one of these orange beauties to do their bidding… all from the safety and comfort of a computer chair.

For their piece, “ROBOCHOP”, the artists developed a web app that allows you to easily manipulate the surface of a virtual cube. You can rotate for positioning and then use a straight or curved line tool to draw vectors through its surface and subtract material. Once you’re finished sculpting your desired masterpiece, one of the four KUKA robots in the installation will retrieve a 40 x 40 x 40 cm block of foam and shape it into a real-life version of whatever you created in the app.

Screen Shot 2015-03-06 at 1.03.39 PMStarting today you can visit the project’s website and upload your own mutilated cube designs. If your design is selected by the artists, it will be among the 2000 pieces carved by the robots throughout their installation during CeBit in Hanover. After the show, your cube spawn will then be mailed to you free of charge! The only way I could see this being cooler, is if they filmed the process so you could watch your shape being born.

Anyhow, I personally couldn’t resist the invitation to sculpt Styrofoam remotely with an industrial grade robot arm and came up with this gem.

You can go to their page if you want to give the app a go, and really… why wouldn’t you?

Thank’s [hk] for pointing out this awesomeness to us!

17 thoughts on “ROBOCHOP! It Slices, Dices, But Wait! There’s More…

  1. That’s a bad ass end effector. I wish I could play around with some of the robots I program like this. But customers usually frown upon seeing their robots dance.

    Actually. Now that I think about it, a system I’m working on now has two identical robots side by side, and I might get a little spare time to do some “training” with them. Who wants synchronized Fanuc dancing?

  2. This would be beyond awesome for lost-foam aluminum casting. If they had a webservice doing exactly the same thing their art installation is doing, they would fill a need.

    1. I have a dumb question: There are three separate passes at the final product shown in the video – do the first two have to be programmed as well, or does the software for these inherently incorporate the rough-cut stages?

      1. The CAM software ‘should’ be capable of doing this itself. As Charliex stated, you pick your cut areas and bits and build your cutfile that will handle it all.
        Even entry level programs should handle this ‘roughing’ pass.
        That said, sometimes the roughing passes are intentionally built separately if there is a lot of manual work that needs to be done in between stages

  3. Blimey, I thought we were different kinds of artist when, 22years ago, we (drunkenly) devised a method to put TCT tipped circular saws on Motorman robots to cut steel doorframe sections out of bent rolled profile. Frankly scary to watch, but incredible precision & adaptability. Anyhow, 10/10 for marketing & presentation to Kuka.

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