…Most who envision a robotic workforce usually imagine hundreds of machines, which are constructed in the likeness of human beings; two arms, a head, and two legs. They then picture these machines chaotically working together to produce whatever items the job calls for. In actuality a robotic workforce likely will not resemble anything remotely like this. What the future robotic manufacturing facility may look like, is probably a lot like that found in today’s high tech facilities. In fact many companies are already using computer controlled machines to produce goods at a fraction of the cost of human labor. Instead of robots in the likeness of people, we will have facilities packed full of sophisticated machines, capable of manufacturing items via several different types of additive and subtractive methods. One machine will be able to print out metal objects, scan them to check for imperfections, and then use a subtractive cutting or milling process to perfect the shape and drill any needed holes into the object.
Does this sound like something that may still be years or even decades away? Well, it’s not! One company based in Rapid City, SD, called FRE™ ‘Flexible Robotic Environments’ has recently unveiled their latest all-in-one robotic manufacturing device, called the VDK6000 Robotic Work Center.
The VDK6000 is likely one of the most sophisticated robotic devices of its kind. Not only is it capable of both additive and subtractive manufacturing, but it works with a 6-axis Aerotech Motion setup over a huge build platform measuring 2 feet by 3 feet in diameter. The machine can be customized, per client, to feature numerous different technologies all in one device. The VDK6000 is capable of several different types of metal 3D printing. Different tool heads can automatically be added to the machine, as needed, to allow for any of the following methods of 3D metal printing….
Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!
Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!
The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! We also offer the LulzBot TAZ – Open source 3D Printer and the Printrbot Simple Metal 3D Printer in our store. If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!