A Floor Power Module for Cooperative 3D Printing

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Currence, Jacob
Morales-Ortega, Rolando
Steck, Jason
Zhou, Wenchao

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University of Texas at Austin


Cooperative 3D printing is an emerging technology that utilizes multiple printhead-carrying mobile robots to work simultaneously to 3D print or assemble products on a factory floor, which can provide the scalability, increased printing capability, and reduced human intervention for 3D printing to potentially become a mainstream digital manufacturing technology. However, powering the mobile printers for them to span entire factory floors poses an issue. Traditional cords are not an option due to restricting free movement across long distances. On-board batteries would waste energy due to additional weight and the need to recharge could interrupt ongoing print jobs and increase printing time. In this paper, we present an electrified floor to power the mobile printers wirelessly. First, we designed a floor module with stainless steel conductive strips in a concrete base and a brush that is carried by the mobile robots to make sure it never loses contact with the electrified floor while in motion. Then we designed a circuit to sort the polarity of the current from the floor based on the power requirements of the robot. A prototype of the floor power module was then developed and tested with a mobile 3D printer. Results show the developed floor power supply can power the mobile 3D printers effectively. This development will potentially enable an autonomous factory equipped with thousands of mobile 3D printers powered wireless by the factory floor.


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