3D Cocooner (3D Lattice Printer)

Sometimes it feels like we haven’t yet tapped into all the possibilities of additive manufacturing. Festo, a company that loves to try innovative things (and not always bring them to market), just came up with something called the 3D Cocooner — essentially, a rostock style 3D printer on its side, with a UV cure feature to allow it to build up skeletal structures and lattice style shapes.

Similar to the MX3D-Metal 3D printer (which is currently on a mission to build a bridge end-to-end — by itself), this 3D printer specializes in printing structures as opposed to the more traditional layer approach. It’s called the 3D Cocooner as it is a bionic technology platform designed to “spin” complex lattices, very similar to naturally occurring structures.

The cool thing is, it’s not actually using plastic filament like most printers — it’s actually printing using string! The string is covered with a special UV resin which is then hardened into place as soon as it is expelled from the print head — making this more like a giant robot spider than a 3D printer.

Speaking of Festo’s other crazy inventions — do you remember their robotic kangaroo?

[Thanks for the tip Fred!]

28 thoughts on “3D Cocooner (3D Lattice Printer)

  1. I REALLY like the idea of using a UV resin coated string extruder/curer/cutter…. I think this could open a lot of cool doors. I would love to see them open up the designs for their extruder/curer/cutter

    1. Using resin + UV instead of filament could be an interesting variety of FDM style 3d printer. You could use tiny needles to deposit the resin for fine detail, then squirt it out like a hose for solid or low resolution areas.

    1. It looks like there is an extruder near the head.

      I’d hazard to guess that gravity helps pull the string, along with the added weight from the resin.

      Also, if the resin cures to the layer below, all the head really has to do is move and the string is pulled.

    1. Rostock is the common name (based on the 3D printer manufacturer that uses that name).
      It is simply a prismatic joint with solid linkages to linear actuators (in one form or another). The mechanism has been around for (at least) 30 years (that was the fist time I saw it). We used a gigantic version with three 10HP servo motors (per end effector) to simulate uneven ground and walking motions (a human foot was strapped to each end effector).

          1. Yeah, it scared the shit out of us. The first time we tested it was with a 100 pound weight on each end effector, and we hadn’t adjusted the servo feedback yet, and it threw one of the 100 pound weights 30 feet up in the air.
            After some fine tuning, we managed to talk someone into trying it. But still, it could easily rip your leg off.

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