Publication Details

Tawk, C., Gillett, A., in het Panhuis, M., Spinks, G. M. & Alici, G. (2019). A 3D-Printed Omni-Purpose Soft Gripper. IEEE Transactions on Robotics, 35 (5), 1268-1275.


Numerous soft grippers have been developed based on smart materials, pneumatic soft actuators, and underactuated compliant structures. In this article, we present a three-dimensional (3-D) printed omni-purpose soft gripper (OPSOG) that can grasp a wide variety of objects with different weights, sizes, shapes, textures, and stiffnesses. The soft gripper has a unique design that incorporates soft fingers and a suction cup that operate either separately or simultaneously to grasp specific objects. A bundle of 3-D-printable linear soft vacuum actuators (LSOVA) that generate a linear stroke upon activation is employed to drive the tendon-driven soft fingers. The support, fingers, suction cup, and actuation unit of the gripper were printed using a low-cost and open-source fused deposition modeling 3-D printer. A single LSOVA has a blocked force of 30.35 N, a rise time of 94 ms, a bandwidth of 2.81 Hz, and a lifetime of 26 120 cycles. The blocked force and stroke of the actuators are accurately predicted using finite element and analytical models. The OPSOG can grasp at least 20 different objects. The gripper has a maximum payload-to-weight ratio of 7.06, a grip force of 31.31 N, and a tip blocked force of 3.72 N.

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