Stereolithography and Robotics: Manufacturing the Future with 3D Printing


The science fiction that talked about robots building robots is now a reality in the robotics world. 3D printing has over the years evolved and spread across almost every sector and is now used to manufacture robots.

Different 3D printing technologies are being used to manufacture robots with SLA (stereolithography) being used extensively to manufacture soft robots.

In this blog, we explore the process of stereolithography and other 3D printing technologies used to manufacture robots.

What is stereolithography?

Stereolithography is a vat photopolymerization process in 3D printing which uses UV light to solidify resin and create models, prototypes, and other shapes. The 3D printer consists of a resin tank which uses the resin material based on the output needed and solidifies it based on the inputs fed to the printer.

Use of stereolithography in soft robotics

Soft robotics is a division of robotics that deals with robots made of materials similar to living organisms. These are extensively being used in the medical field to assist paralysis patients with robots that imitate human functions.

Soft robotics is used for several applications, including:

  • Manufacturing biomedical robots
  • Prosthetic robots
  • Robots that assist in surgeries
  • Climbing robots
  • And more

Benefits of choosing stereolithography for soft robotics

There are numerous processes for manufacturing robots, but stereolithography is usually preferred in the case of 3d printing in robotics because of reasons including:

  • Fast turnaround time: Time plays a big role, especially in the case of medical robots. SLA can manufacture even the most complex of robots quickly.
  • Isotropy: SLA can produce complex designs with high accuracy at scale
  • Customisations: Specific needs are the need of the hour, especially in the medical field, where customisation for particular patient needs can be crucial. SLA makes these customisations possible.
  • Variety of materials: SLA 3D printing process can manufacture using various materials, including different types of resins and more.
  • Water and heat resistance: Due to various material types, stereolithography can manufacture robots made from water and heat-resistant materials.
  • Smooth surface finish: SLA processes help you produce aesthetic end products.

Other 3D printing processes used

Soft robotics is not limited to SLA but uses other 3D printing techniques, including:

  • Direct ink writing
  • Powder bed fusion
  • Selective laser sintering
  • Material jetting
  • Shape deposition modeling

How can help you manufacture sophisticated robots with SLA and other manufacturing processes?

Startups and companies have to make a lot of decisions before manufacturing their robots. Consulting manufacturing experts at these stages is crucial as every decision directly impacts the end product’s success (the robot in this case).

We at help a lot of companies manufacture sophisticated robots. We can help you get access to our vast network of engineers, designers, suppliers, and other manufacturing experts for manufacturing processes, including SLA 3D printing, CNC machining, sheet metal fabrication, and other processes.

Companies that we have helped in the past include:

  • in manufacturing a pipeline crawler bot that inspects underground pipeline leaks, contamination, and other critical defects
  • Ati Motors in manufacturing an autonomous, electric tug that moves trolley payloads
  • Peer Robotics in manufacturing a Collaborative Mobile Robot for shop floor and inventory warehouse
  • WCB Robotics in manufacturing wall climbing robots for window cleaning service provider companies, and
  • Rymo in manufacturing a multifunctional physiotherapy device

Based on the modern requirements and challenges of companies, we have developed our digital manufacturing platform. Using the platform, you can access end-to-end project management, DfM feedback via our expert engineers, regular QC, audits of suppliers, logistics, payments, solutions for product assembly, product localisation, sharing project files within your organisation on the platform dashboard, viewing your CAD files, and more.

Want help in accelerating and powering up your robot manufacturing? Start by registering on our digital platform.

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