Printed Air Muscle




About: Former recon marine, did time in the Navy as well. build robots for a living, engineer as a trade. Inventor, Black belt TKD. battle bots. robot wars etc. Medal of valor recipient.

I plan on printing something completely new. An air muscle from a 3d printer. the entire part is simple two identical end caps seen bellow and a support structure that will keep the membrane that will surround the device and hold the air. 

The major difference is that this air muscle will not use positive pressure to do the work it will use vacuum  we will remove the air and in turn cause the device to retract. 

This is a prototype and will be refined many many times. This device will be the main component in my next instructable The 3d printed robotic arm. 

If I win the contest this will lead to a whole new type of printed robot. we will be able to print 80% of the mechanicals and reduce the assembly time of the arm. Thereby lowering costs and making the technology cheaper. 

The outer shell will be covered with a silicone material that is airtight and will be secured to each of the end caps. also added will be a guide wire down the center of the muscle. this can be used as a feedback device to return information on muscle movement and distance. Again a major missing component to air muscles to date. 

Step 1: To End It All

Here is the end cap as described in previous step. 



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    8 Discussions

    cool idea! what materials are you printing with? ABS? Is there a separate container that fits in the middle that holds the vacuum?

    1 reply

    Pvc, nylon maybe. not sure depends on what is available.

    or if i win the printer. there will be a membrane that covers the outside from cap to cap then secured to each of the caps and sealed. then draw a vacuum on the device. it will retract the wide spring will keep the membrane from being pulled into the middle or distorted. leaving only one direction and that will be to retract.


    4 years ago

    Do you have any 3D designs made for this?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Have you looked into how the printed materials will hold up to the fatigue caused by being used cyclically?


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    thanks i hope i win the printer this will go along way to the building of the hand and arm. soon I will have enough parts ready to build an android.. lol