When you think about the materials for your next large dancing robot build, soda bottles might not be the first thing that springs to mind. But they could work, according to TrussFab, a project from a group of students at the Hasso Plattner Instituit. Their system uses empty coke bottles and 3D printed connectors to build large structures, modeled in software that checks their load balance and safety. The team has modeled and built designs up to 5 meters high. Now, the project has taken a step further by adding linear actuators and hinges to the mix so you can create things that move, including a 4-meter high animatronic robot.
The new TrussFormer software models how things will move when you add linear actuators to the model, figuring out if it will be stable as they shift. The software then creates a set of parameters for how to activate the actuators while keeping the model stable and safe.
It’s a fascinating looking project, and the builds they have produced so far look excellent. They have released the interconnectors that they use for the bottles on Thingiverse. They have not released the full software yet, as it is still being beta tested. However, this certainly loks like an interesting project, and adding motion brings another angle to it.