3D MultiTool

A project log for We Should be Free to Tour the Solar System

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garrett-herschlebGarrett Herschleb 09/23/2014 at 01:120 Comments

When I envision an ultimately autonomous factory, its primary ingredients would be:

1. 3D Multi tools (more on this below)

2. Mobile robots facilitating the multi tool operations

3. Metal casting equipment

4. Specialized equipment for doing what the above cannot (but said equipment largely made on demand by the above)

5. Teraflops machine capable of basic problem solving, consequence modeling, and machine learning, solving the minor issues that arise during manufacturing before human involvement becomes necessary.

What is a 3D multi tool?

1. A 3D chassis capable of moving any given head (which does the actual work) anywhere in the build space. The base chassis must have the strength, stability and power to support all head variants.

2. A set of interchangeable heads, including but not limited to:

a. FDM printing with various extruder types.

b. Scanning with a combination of laser and touch.

c. Cutting (mechanical and laser)

d. Welding

e. Milling

f. Drilling

g. Sanding

h. General purpose grip to assist in assembly

i. Lathing

j. You name it

Many of these head types would be combined with an axial adapter that gives an additional 3 degrees of freedom for arbitrary orientations.

Some printer manufacturers have already begun this convergence by including scanning and light milling functions, and the MTM multifab has taken another big leap in this direction.

Convergence is a common pattern of evolution and innovation in many industries, where many devices with common attributes, and the maker industry will be no exception. Today's smartphone is a textbook example of convergence, incorporating the functions of computer, phone, camera and more into a single platform.