Let's build our first Soft Muscle (Actuator). All the things required for making soft actuators are given below, I have also mentioned the links from where you can buy them.
Step 1: 3-D Printed Molds
You can use any design software to design these molds or you can download it from Soft Robotics Toolkit, Although there available moldings are different from mine but that's not an issue. In my case I used the Fusion 360 - Autodesk.
Step 2: Ecoflex-50
Step 3: Digital Scale
Step 4: Cup and Mixing Sticks
Step 5: Silicone Tube Connector
Step 6: Black Card
Step 7: Glue
Step 8: Ribbon
Step 9: Ease Release
Step 10: Links :
Step 11: Fabrication Steps:
That’s all you need to make your first home made Soft Actuator.
Follow the following steps to make the actuator:
1. Take a cup and place it on the digital Scale and set it to zero.
2. Now add the ecoflex-50 (Part A) into the cup as per your need (In my case it was 30g).
3. Now remove the cup and place and another cup and repeat the above process, but this time add Ecoflex- 50 (Part B), such that both the mixtures are in ratio 1:1.
4. Now pour both the mixture in one of the cup and stir them thoroughly with the help of mixing stick.
5. Before adding the stirred mixture into the molds, spray the molds with ease release so that on removing the muscle you don’t feel any difficulty (It’s Optional).
6. Once you stirred it properly pour the mixture in both molds and let it cure for about 5-6 hours. You can use the oven to make this process faster (Not recommended).
7. After 5-6 hours remove the upper muscles from the mold (One on the right in the picture), if you added the mixture in right proportion and stirred it properly you will find the fine muscle.
8. To enable the bending of the
muscle, cut the black card according to the size of the base and place it on the base muscle, now add some more mixture to the base and place the upper muscle over it and let it cure for another 5-6 hours.
9. After the given time remove the muscle from the mold, puncture the muscle from one side and insert the connector in it and fixed it with the help of glue.
Now your muscle is ready to use, in some cases muscle doesn’t bend due to manufacturing problem in that case you can use the ribbon and wrap it around the muscle, it will help it in bending.
You can use any pumping mechanism to make your muscle bend.
In my next tutorial i used this muscle to make a soft gripper.