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Engineering Materials

3D Printing & Robots at MD&M West

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Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Baxter Robot
Ann R. Thryft   2/28/2013 1:03:24 PM
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Al, I think you nailed it: our expectations of industrial robots are quite different from what this one doers. Which is, of course, the whole point. Regarding how big its niche will be, it's potentially pretty broad once the SDK comes out. Time will tell.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: baxter
Ann R. Thryft   2/28/2013 1:00:57 PM
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Thanks, William. Baxter has eliminated pinch points, as Foellmer demonstrated at the show, and it's also a lot slower than typical high-speed industrial 'bots. Too bad about the saw flesh-detector.

apresher
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Baxter Robot
apresher   2/28/2013 12:57:56 PM
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Thanks Ann. I guess their niche is just that -- simple to program applications that can leverage their safety technology. Maybe the problem is that I am programmed that in most pick and place applications, speed is extremely important. And the new Delta style robots are more flexible and less costly than robots with traditional articulated arms. Still makes me wonder how big a niche Baxter might find.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: Baxter Robot
Ann R. Thryft   2/28/2013 12:39:42 PM
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Al, as we said this is an industrial robot for doing simple, repetitive tasks, not highly precise, that humans previously did, such as the simple pick and place shown in the video. The point is that it's not highly specialized and can be easily programmed with open source software for whatever you need, within certain limits.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: 3D additive mfg of titanium
Ann R. Thryft   2/28/2013 12:36:05 PM
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eafpres, it's pretty simple. if something larger than a part--like the human body--gets inside its working zone, it stops. This is determined by its sensors. Also, if you bump into it faster than it can respond, it won't hurt you because of its softer surface (plastic) and its considerably lower force, compared to other industrial 'bots. More details are available on the website.

Ann R. Thryft
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Re: baxter
Ann R. Thryft   2/28/2013 12:35:15 PM
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Thanks Clinton. I did not think of Baxter wielding the bone rasp--I take no responsibility for others' imaginations! OTOH, Chuck, pointed out that it looks something like a medieval weapon, so I can understand the association. That's an interesting idea about flesh-sensors; I didn't know about that. Sounds like a good cross-app possibility. Hope Rethink is reading these comments...

apresher
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Baxter Robot
apresher   2/28/2013 10:16:56 AM
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Ann, Did they mention any specific commercial applications for Baxter? There is certainly interesting technology here but I'm not certain of its application niche.

apresher
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Baster robot
apresher   2/28/2013 10:13:33 AM
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Interesting use of safety technology.  From their website, Baxter contains sensors and software protocols that detect people within contact distance and trigger the robot to slow to safe operation speeds.  May be that the robot sets up programmable safety zones on sensor inputs.  Every motor can also be "back driven" in order to comply when unexpectedly pushed backwards.

William K.
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Re: baxter
William K.   2/27/2013 10:20:23 PM
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@CLMcDade , That "skin detector" used in the sawstop system would not help in a robot system because it uses a resistance principle, not a touch principle. And the reason that the saw companies are not rushing to adopt this system is that it has a few very big shortcomings, including a very expensive reset process and a propensity toward false triggers from wet wood and nails. 

The two steps to make a robot safe for humans to be around is to slow it down to human speeds, and to eliminate pinch-points. By no means a trivial task, but certainly an achieveable target.

78RPM
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Re: Bone rasp or industrial tool?
78RPM   2/27/2013 9:45:04 PM
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But the real point is that 3D printers can make complex shapes that would be too costly (translated: impossible) by other methods. I can imagine that bone cells would really gather 'round this object and build new bone.  Additive technology will help us build shapes previously unattainable.

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