Ever watched a group of spiders swarm around something and work together to create a nest? Honestly, most sane people will understand how terrifying that concept is. But what if we could take that same principal and apply it to the world of 3D Printing? Siemens, the German engineering and telecommunications company, has begun designing robots that will have a similar effect. They have begun developing spider like robots, that will collaborate together to create 3D printed objects, that are much longer than themselves. This will take great strides towards solving the longtime issue of build tray sizes on the 3D printers of today.
Siemiens isn’t really known for their robotic designs, but they are hoping to mirror the effect of the original space launch program. They hope that in the attempt of accomplishing a great feat, they will generate new ideas and technologies, which can also be used in other areas. The same way landing on the moon led to the development of dozens of new ideas and ushered in the computer and technological age of today. Livio Dalloro, the head of the company’s “Product Design, Simulation & Modeling Research” group in Princeton, said in an interview that the company views the bots as a “moonshot.”
While the robots are still in the early stages of development, the company currently has two functioning prototypes plus and extra robot that is currently being used for testing. The robots can each individually print objects, and can work together to print smaller pieces while on a flat surface. Dalloro spoke of the future of these bots saying that “The idea is really to make these flexible autonomous, communicating, general purpose machines,” If the team succeeds, they will have knocked down another large barrier not only for the world of 3D Printing, but also manufacturing in general.