Interesting Patents | Thursday, February 16, 2023
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants hundreds of new patents every week, showcasing developments in technology and innovation. In our Interesting Patents series, we highlight exciting US patents recently issued by the USPTO.
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3D printing has evolved rapidly over the last few years. However, one challenge that remains is developing moveable structural support for printing complex structures. A newly published patent application from IBM describes a computer-implemented method using multiple robotic grippers to provide dynamic supports for 3D printed objects, ensuring printing is not interrupted and objects are printed successfully.
The patent application describes two or more robotic grippers that provide physical support for an object while printing using a 3D printer’s head. The first robotic gripper provides initial support for the object while printing takes place. When the orientation of the first gripper no longer allows for printing at a desired location on the object, a second robotic gripper is used to transfer the object to a new location where it can receive a second physical support.
The method is dynamic in that it enables the first robotic gripper to continue providing support while the second robotic gripper provides support from a different location. This dynamic approach allows for successful 3D printing, even when the object’s shape or structure is complex and requires support from multiple angles that would be impossible using only one support.
The method is also equipped with a machine-learning technique that decomposes the object into areas of printing and gripping positions that have the most coverage via the printing head when gripped at different locations. This ensures that the robotic grippers provide support at optimal locations, reducing the risk of interruption or errors during printing.
The patent application also outlines the potential for identifying additional robotic grippers to provide additional physical support for more locations on the object. The capability of the grippers and the printed object can determine the need for additional grippers. The system is also capable of being embodied in a cloud-computing environment, enabling remote access to the method and potentially improving the scalability and efficiency of the 3D printing process.
Multiple support bases for 3D printing can be easily applied in many applications. This method allows for greater flexibility in the printing process and can help to reduce errors and waste. Moreover, using machine learning techniques to optimize the gripping positions and timings adds a further layer of sophistication and adaptability to the system.
A computer-implemented dynamic supporting base creation method that interacts with a three-dimensional (3D) printer that prints an object, the method including providing a physical support, via a first robotic gripper, for an object during three-dimensional (3D) printing using a printing head of the 3D printer and transferring the object to a second robotic gripper to provide a physical support at a different location on the object.
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