iRobot applies for 'all-in-one' 3D printer patent

@ 2013/01/25
It's no floor cleaner, so it looks like iRobot's looking to expand its horizons, filing a patent application for a "robotic fabricator". While not granted (yet), the USPTO filing outlines an all-in-one 3D printer that is capable of post-print milling and processing. Typical 3D printing results in an 'overhang' excess that needs to be clipped from the finished article, but iRobot's loosely worded notion would process these automatically, as well as seams formed where parts are fused together. Multiple manipulators mean that the object can be contorted over "at least six axes", while the toolhead would combine together a print and milling head, alongside an exotically-named robocasting extruder, which is used in building up the layers of material. The design aims to reduce the need for any non-automated manufacturing processes, hopefully meaning effortless turtleshell kart production and reduced printing blemishes -- that is, if it makes it to reality.

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