Robot hands. There was I time I wish I had a lab with robot hands hanging from the ceiling and the constant hum of industrial machining all around. Who am I kidding. I still wish that. The team at RightHand Robotics has a lab. They’ve got the robot hand making process down too; a process using 3D printing that helps them iterate and produce prototypes and production parts extremely fast.
Companies like RightHand Robotics are not convinced that product design ends when production begins. They use rapid prototyping with desktop 3D printing to make continuous improvements to their products throughout the production process. Formlabs interviewed the RightHand Labs team at RightHand Robotics and partner organization CLEAR design lab about their production process for the ReFlex Hand.
Their process includes using the Form 2 to generate prototypes of components that go into the hand–saving loads on tooling for their small batch short-run production. In the manufacturing process they then use it to cast molds of other materials.
“We have a 3D printed core and some electronics. We stick that into a mold, pour rubber around it and then take it out, stick into a secondary mold and overmold around that.” – Kat Ely, designer at partner organization CLEAR design lab
“Just like software uses an agile approach to design, we are doing the same thing with our manufacturing approach. So after the product ships, we aren’t bound to keep it that way.” – Sarah Mendelowitz, lead of the RightHand Labs team at RightHand Robotics