UltiCasting, researched by Lars Rossing, is a new add on for 3D printers to speed up the printing time needed for filled structures. The basic principle involves first printing a mold and then filling this mold with a settling resin. In the video you can see the process of UltiCasting.
In the field of Soft Robotics these techniques could prove interesting. With UltiCasting it becomes possible to ‘print’ a soft actuator in a mold eliminating the manual casting process and doing so speeding up the process of creating soft actuators.
We will be using a water soluble PVA to create the casting mold which will be filled with a two component silicon fill. This will allow more complex shapes that could not be printed without support to be created on a direct drive 3D printer. If the mold quality is high the surface quality of the flexible silicon will also be very high. This is very hard to achieve in traditional FDM printing because every layer of hot filament deforms the previous layers of filament.
We will be researching the possibilities and limits of this technique and it’s applicability to the field of Soft Robotics