Case study 2: Pneumatic tool for cleaning the CNC table
Figure 1 – pneumatic tool demonstration
Perhaps the biggest advantage of six-axis robots is their versatility. Being programmable, they can be set up for countless operations, using a variety of different end-effectors. There are companies specialised in developing end-effectors for gripping, inspecting, scanning, welding or glueing. However, because of availability or cost reasons, sometimes it is more convenient for the users to create their own tools to perform a specific task. An example for such a case is a simple 3D printed nozzle for cleaning the CNC mill table that DHR Engineering developed.
Figure 2 – 3D printed nozzle mounted on the Schunk gripper
Why are metal chips such a problem?
During every milling operation, metal waste accumulates in the form of chips of various sizes. Given the tight tolerances that modern machines work with, it is crucial that all surfaces in the mill are well cleaned. The presence of chips can lead to displacement or distortion of the workpiece, resulting in unacceptable inaccuracies in the final product. The accumulation of a large volume of chips interferes with the normal operation of the machine, making movements difficult and hindering automation. It is common practice for the operator to monitor the cleaning of the tools and work surface. This task can be automated with a six-axis robot and a 3D printed nozzle, allowing for a continuous process from loading the blank to the finished part.
In designing the tool, we tried not to make it more complicated than necessary (you can see the 3D model in Figure 3). We planned to use the robot’s controllable pneumatic lines and only needed to send the air in the right direction. The nozzle we created is a plastic cube with suitable mounting and pneumatic holes. The main specifications we considered are listed below.
- The nozzle had to fit the gripper geometry and the existing mounting holes. We 3D printed the threaded mounting hole, and the overhanging detail is designed to rest on the wall of the gripper for easier positioning.
- The part required an interface for connecting to the pneumatic system of the robot. With this particular robot, the pressure is 6 bars, and the connection to the gripper is made through a standard 1/8-inch connector. This thread is also 3D printed.
- The nozzle exit hole required an optimal size and position to provide a strong stream towards the milling table. In Figure 2, it can be seen that the nozzle is directed perpendicular to the jaws, allowing the gripper to be positioned very close to the milling table during cleaning.
- The detail had to be sturdy and easy to print; a simple design, small size, and light load – the ideal moment to use the services of 3DHR, which would cost you only 2 BGN.
The entire process of creating the nozzle takes a total of 3 hours. This includes conceptual and technical design, creating the 3D model, printing, installation, and programming the robot. We can reuse the finished 3D model again if we need to change the dimensions, create a second nozzle for another robot, or replace a damaged or worn part.
Whether it’s small details like our #Doosan robot nozzle or large, complex prints, 3D printing will certainly be part of the future for many industries. If you’ve never worked with plastic parts, now is the perfect time to start and stay ahead of the competition!
On our website, you can upload a 3D model and automatically get a price and time estimate for printing your parts!
We would be happy to answer any questions – please contact us!