Pneumatic robot air muscles can be easily made using Oogoo. These flexible, silicone artificial muscles have the advantage that they are inexpensive and can be easily molded to fit almost any robot body.

The intro pic shows a six segment elbow muscle, a three segment actuator muscle, and a single segment muscle under low air pressure. The thumb pic shows the artificial muscles with no pressure.

You can see a robot arm and gripper that was made using this type of artificial muscle, here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Soft-Robots-Make-An-Artificial-Muscle-Arm-And-Gri/

Step 1: How artificial robot muscles Work

These artificial robot muscles are made by laminating thin layers of Oogoo which is a silicone rubber that can be cast in any thickness. For info on Oogoo see here: http://www.instructables.com/id/How-To-Make-Your-Own-Sugru-Substitute/

An artificial muscle segment is cast in two layers with a thin piece of plastic between the layers to allow for air expansion. This creates a simple air bladder that can glued together in many segments with spacers to create curving or straight robot muscles.

The step one pic shows a 3d illustration of a six segment silicone robot muscle. Ideally, an artificial robot muscle like this could be directly printed in one piece. I have not found a 3d printer service that can print silicone or rubber at an affordable price. So, for now, I can only do the illustration and must use hand techniques to create the muscles. I am looking into the 3d printing of plastic molds that could be used to cast the Oogoo robot muscles in one step.

123D was used to create the illustration.
<p>Actually, these would be a lot more like a real muscle:</p><p><a href="http://www.shadowrobot.com/products/air-muscles/" rel="nofollow">http://www.shadowrobot.com/products/air-muscles/</a></p><p>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pneumatic_artificial_muscles</p><p></p><p>...and wouldn't be restricted to 15 PSI which is the maximum you can get from a vacuum.</p>
<p>There's an instructable for something like that:</p><p><a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-air-muscles!/" rel="nofollow">http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-air-mu...</a></p>
<p>Hi. Thanks for sharing your project. I am inspired to use some of your ideas in a project I'm currently working on. I was hoping you can offer me some advice. What I want to do is have a small platform about 12&quot; in diameter held up by three small air pillows (at 120 degrees from each other). The weight of my platform and payload will be approximately 3 lbs. I guess the best way to picture it is how a server in a restaurant holds a round tray with a drink on it. The tray will wiggle randomly because the server cannot hold it perfectly still. This hand motion is what I'm trying to simulate. The little purple pillow in your photo above looks like something that might work. What I want to be able to do is partially inflate/deflate each pillow independently using an Arduino at a rate up to 10 times per second. I could use an air pump and three air valves to inflate the pillows. Would I simply use a second 12V valve on each pillow to let air out; i.e. each pillow would have one 12V valve to inflate the pillow and a second to deflate it. I think this might work, unless you have a better idea. Do you know where I could find inflatable rubber balloons with the two connections I need? I've never heard of oogoo until I read this article today and would prefer something already available. Thanks.</p>
<p>Would something like this work?:</p><p>http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=70432&amp;cat=1,43456</p>
hello, love the instructable. !! :)<br><br>do you think you could come up with a simple and effective way to also make the hoses from oogoo?. <br><br>I know they are a more tricky shape to form. though it would save money on buying a silicone hose, plus the satisfaction of making more of the robot and extra customisability are advantages.
<p>Yes, you can fairly easily make square hoses with Oogoo.</p><p>Make a form using 1/8&quot; acrylic or other plastic sheet. On top of a base sheet, glue two strips side by side with a gap between them. Make it 1/8&quot; wide by 1/8&quot; deep and as long as is reasonable.</p><p>Tape a piece of wire suspended down the middle, centered in the form. Hardened wire like piano wire works best, but copper wire will work if you can get it very straight.</p><p>Fill it with Oogoo and after it has set up, pull it out of the form and pull out the wire. Test it under water under pressure and fix any leaks you find with a patch of Oogoo.</p><p>I prefer the hoses because the vinyl hoses are inexpensive and allow you to use fittings that make the muscles and valves plug and play. </p>
A very clear instructable and an awesome idea! My mind is in overdrive thinking of the many possible applications of your muscles!
Awesome, I love this! On step 3 you could use a 2&quot; hole saw and cut all six segments in the plastic so you could screed an entire muscle in one shot.
This is wonderful. Would it help if each muscle segment was more the shape of an orange segment? I think I could rotocast silicone rubber.
I have only tried a dozen different shapes for Oogoo air muscles. I have by no means found the optimum configuration. I suspect there could be several hundred useful forms of silicone air muscles. Lots of room for experimentation. <br> <br>Roto-casting the Oogoo is a good Idea. It could make for some unique hollow shapes. I think some commercial silicone bellows are made that way. <br> <br>Have you roto-casted before? I would be interested in trying it. <br>
Another neat Oogoo app ! <br> <br>You mention glueing the air-hose to the muscle: does Oogoo stick to the hose, or did you find another glue ? <br> <br>Thanks, <br> rp <br> <br>
Oogoo glues extremely well to set up Oogoo and to some kinds of silicone hose. The 1/8&quot; hose I used that worked best is very supple and almost sticky to the touch. <br> <br>Unfortunately, the less expensive, smooth and stiffer, silicone hose that they sell for aquariums does not glue well enough to easily hold air pressure.
Could you give any details of the air valves - manufacturer - source etc? I've been trying to find some with no success. Thanks <br>
Now I read it carefully and see that you have! Thanks Sorry!
I will try to mow an raise version. Don't ask me how.
Very cleaver. If you said what the green &quot; hinged &quot; pieces were i could not find. What are those?
I have updated the step 1 pic and added to the step 4 explanation.<br>I hope that helps.<br>
It does. Thank You very much!
that is really genious!
Hi,<br><br>anyone have a video of this instructable?<br><br>Thanks.
I got excited over this! Thanks for sharing! Muhahahaha!
That is AWESOME! I really need to perfect my oogoo mixing!
Thats a realy great and easy way to make your own air muscle.<br><br>Look at the following links. These guys make quite nice soft 3d printed Robots. <br><br>http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/about-fraunhofer/excellence-research/science-prizes-distinctions/bionic-handling-assistant.html<br><br>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bw_EpAwZ1Zk
Interesting, never thought that bladders are cast in one piece. Reminds me of the replicant detector machine in Blade Runner.
you should see this formula one <a href="http://scimad.com/formula-car-racing-giant/" rel="nofollow">http://scimad.com/formula-car-racing-giant/</a>
Great idea. Thanks for sharing.

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Bio: I believe that the purpose of life is to learn how to do our best and not give in to the weaker way.
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