The software in question integrates mechanical moving functions within an object whose parts can move through manual mechanical manipulation.
“With the advent of 3D printers, the machinery for fabricating personalised mechanical toys, artefacts, or even robots becomes widely available,” states the paper. “Without the assistance of specialised software, however, designing such animated characters is a virtually impossible task for casual users.”
The first method is called ChaCra and helps users define a means of movement within planar mechanical characters. The researchers have managed to design and develop an interactive software system which helps users create planar mechanical characters such as shadow puppets. The software also allows users to sketch out an object and pose the object whichever way they want. The software then determines if further modifications or mechanical structures need to be added.The second method allows for automation of designing linkage-based mechanical characters that have motors at each joint which are later replaced by the user with rigid links which “mechanically couple” the motions of the various parts of the object.
With the abovementioned methods, anyone can add mechanical motion to any printed object.
3D printing of mechanical designs has now become a breeze and can only develop into something much greater, like designing complex robotic and mechanical systems.
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