Design and Realization of a 6 Degree of Freedom Robotic Extrusion Platform

Kubalak, Joseph R.
Mansfield, Craig D.
Pesek, Taylor H.
Snow, Zachary K.
Cottiss, Edward B.
Ebeling-Koning, Oliver D.
Price, Matthew G.
Traverso, Mark H.
Tichnell, L. David
Williams, Christopher B.
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University of Texas at Austin

The layer-wise deposition of Additive Manufacturing (AM) processes allows for significant freedom in the design of product geometry; however, the use of 3-axis deposition tools results in layer interfaces that reduce material properties in the build direction. Adding additional degrees-of-freedom (DOF) to the AM tool could remove this limitation by enabling out of plane material deposition. For example, multi-DOF tool paths could align material extrusion with a part's stress contours to circumvent inter-layer delamination. As a step towards this goal, the authors designed, fabricated, and tested an AM extrusion system that leverages a 6-DOF robotic arm. In this paper, the authors detail the realization of this system including the design of a high-temperature filament extruder, kinematics and tool path generation, and user interface. The performance of the system is evaluated through layered deposition of ABS thermoplastic.