You 3D printing has always been an awe inspiring technique, enabling one to bring imagination and ideas to life in a stupendous manner. So much that, a ton of different 3D devices have been introduced in the past few years, including 3D pens and 3D printers.
While the 3D printers bring forth a very neat and concise piece, it does not hold much place for creativity and the object made does not really have the dsired characteristics. Whereas the 3D pen allows for the imagination to take control, giving user the power to create anything and everything, it lacks the precision the 3D printer offers.
Wouldn’t it be just amazing if there was some device that would allowed the user to explore the 3D printing process in real time to gain an intimate understanding of the material while offering the freedom to perform free-hand printing within machine-limitations. Well fret not, for Yeliz Karadayi’s thesis project, called “Guided Hand,” is a 3D printing pen with a haptic interface that helps keep the much artistic participation from at the same time preventing you from messing up things!!
You might be wondering how this could be possible. Well, the haptic interfaces used by Yeliz, are actually little robotic arms which know their exact position in the 3D space. By communicating with the computer using an Ethernet connection, the device is able to understand the object rendered in the digital space, and uses three motors to create the physical sensation of various forces.
So all one has to do is to feed the desired 3D object into the PC which has the arm connected to it. And once the feed is complete, hold the pen on the end of the Hand, and it would guide you through the making of the 3D object.
Yeliz’s robotic technology uses several different techniques to help guide the user. The boundary exclusion; prevents the user from drawing inside an area. The containment feature: prevents the user from drawing outside an area. And the attraction feature helps guide the user by providing some physical feedback, making it easier to follow specific paths. Variations on this include snapping and path following, which bias the pen to help you trace lines and curves.
A number of various textures and effects result from various settings of the Guided Hand 3D printer. In order to get a wiggly design the pen could be set to vibrate to get the desired result. At the same time you can obtain a beaded effect and a filigree too by setting it according to your design needs.
A user can freely experiment with their model by setting a small amount of resistance to the device, which does not allow one to completely change the design, but at the same time make a few tweaks here and there to fulfill your heart’s content. All these features allow the artists to get an idea of what their designs would actually feel like in real space and time.
While the whole thing seems cool and an out of the box idea, it is still a project with no intention of selling. But truth be told, it is a valuable invention with a lot of applications both in the fields of engineering and arts. It could also convert digital drawings into 3D models that can be traced or printed. In order to get an even deeper understanding of what goes behind the scene of the haptic interface, you can go through Yeliz’s thesis here.