Manufacturing & Prototyping
3D Cocooner Spins Delicate Structures Freely in Space
German automation company Festo has developed the 3D Cocooner as part of its Bionic Learning Network. Like a caterpillar, it spins delicate shapes and creates custom-made lightweight structures out of a glass fiber thread. With the help of a handling system, the spinneret can be precisely maneuvered and the glass fibers, which are simultaneously laminated with UV-curing resin, are glued together to form complex structures. In contrast with other 3D printing methods, these structures are not built up on a surface one layer at a time, but are constructed freely in space. A vertically arranged tripod acts as a specialized handling system for the 3D Cocooner. The three-armed parallel kinematics system can be controlled quickly and precisely in the space.