The Design Process of a Additive Manufactured Miniature Gripper

The Design Process of a Additive Manufactured Miniature Gripper

Technology News |
By Wisse Hettinga

Additive manufacturing (3D printing) can create an alternative to MicroElectroMechanical Systems

Nothing better than a good design story. Although very little electronics (or AI) is covered in the report from postgraduates from the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos (UAEM), the approach, testing an outcome are worth a read.

Miniature grippers have applications in biomedicine, microassembly, nanomedicine, and biology , among others. For example, in the domain of cell biology, a micropositioning system can be used to move a microinjection pipette to transfer drugs. In the area of MEMS, microassembly is often used to simplify manufacturing processes when designs are complex or different micromanufacturing technologies are used.

The team from UAEM (C. Andres Ferrara-Bello, Margarita Tecpoyotl-Torres and S. Fernanda Rodriguez-Fuentes) set down to create an manufacturing process based on 3D printing. Their work focused on the design of a piezoelectric-driven miniature gripper, additive manufactured with Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (PLA), which was modeled using a pseudo rigid body model (PRBM).

The aperture between the jaws of the gripper allows it to hold objects with diameters lower than 500 μm, and weights lower than 1.4 g, such as the strands of some plants, salt grains, metal wires, etc. The novelty of this work is given by the miniature gripper’s simple design, as well as the low-cost of the materials and the fabrication process used.

(a) Schematic diagram of MG based on compliance mechanisms. Dimensions are in milli- meters. (b) Schematic diagram for functional description. (c) Photograph of the MG with metal tips added, with the initial aperture adjusted to achieve a final aperture of 1.5 mm, enough to perform practical tests.

(a) Schematic diagram. (b) PRBM and lengths of the linkage elements. (c) Angular and instantaneous velocities. (d) Rotational springs.

Experimental setup to determine the resonance frequency of the piezoelectric actuator. 1. Experimental setup (shown in Figure 8). 2. Oscilloscope Tektronix TDS 784D. 3. Power supply. 4. Frequency generator. 5. Control module.

All the details of this new design miniature gripper, the testing and proof of concept can be found at the MDPI journal website:

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