Biological systems such as the gecko are complex, involving a wide variety of materials and length scales. Bio-inspired robotic systems seek to emulate this complexity, leading to manufacturing challenges. A new design for a membrane-based gripper for curved surfaces requires the inclusion of microscale features, macroscale structural elements, electrically patterned thin films, and both soft and hard materials. Surface and shape deposition manufacturing (S2DM) is introduced as a process that can create parts with multiple materials, as well as integrated thin films and microtextures. It combines SDM techniques, laser cutting and patterning, and a new texturing technique, surface microsculpting. The process allows for precise registration of sequential additive/subtractive manufacturing steps. S2DM is demonstrated with the manufacture of a gripper that picks up common objects using a gecko-inspired adhesive. The process can be extended to other integrated robotic components that benefit from the integration of textures, thin films, and multiple materials.

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