Abstract

Additive manufacturing is an enabling technology that is rapidly advancing with the development of new printers, materials, and processes. The purpose of this research was to design a part that could function similar to a pneumatic piston-cylinder producing small force outputs between 5 and 10 N. The research presented in this paper looks at various types of 3D printing methods to produce flexible linear bellows actuators to achieve this functionality. In particular, stereolithography, fused deposition modeling, digital light processing, and Polyjet printing were examined to produce a variety of test actuators. A successful flexible part was designed and produced using Polyjet printing, the steady state and dynamic responses of constructed actuators were measured and characterized at various loading conditions. The displacement trends at different load conditions followed a non-linear path, exhibiting highly elastic deformation typical of the flexible resins used in this project.

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