3D Cocooner

3D Cocooner

Bionic lattice structures from the robotic spinneret 

Whether in the form of a net to catch prey, or a protective cocoon, spiders and caterpillars can create amazing shapes with the help of their spinning threads. With the 3D Cocooner, Festo has developed a bionic technology platform that spins complex and equally stable shapes, which are very similar to these natural structures.

Stable lightweight construction method in three-dimensional space

In order to convert the soft thread into a solid lattice structure, it is covered with a special resin in the spinneret. As soon as it comes out of the spinneret, a UV light cures the resin-soaked fibre with pinpoint accuracy and hardens it into a sturdy little rod. During the process, the thread can be reset at any point on the lattice structure, where it continues to build. In this way, it is possible to construct even complex shapes in three-dimensional space without any supports.

  • 3D Cocooner

    Precise travel paths: the extremely manoeuvrable tripod kinematics allow the spinneret to move freely in space

  • 3D Cocooner

    Light-curing plastic: with the help of UV light, glass fibres and resin are merged to form a solid lattice network

  • 3D Cocooner

    Virtual depiction: both the shape model and handling system are visually stored in the animation software

  • 3D Cocooner

    Parametric design: a wide range of variants are generated from one and the same basic shape

  • 3D Cocooner

    Digital fabrication: the software transfers the geometry of the structure directly to the tripod’s travel paths

  • 3D Cocooner

    New concepts: the unique construction method opens up unlimited design options 

Direct control of the tripod kinematics

A vertically arranged tripod of type EXPT-45 acts as a handling system for the 3D Cocooner. The high-speed handling system can be controlled quickly and precisely in the space and its manoeuvrability makes it ideal for such a task. The tripod receives the necessary positional data and control signals directly from an animation software program, in which the 3D shape model parametrically generates the desired structure.

From virtual model to finished object

Besides the design shape model, the entire handling system is also stored visually in the program. This allows the complete path planning to be calculated here live, visually simulated and transferred to the tripod’s actual travel paths without intermediate steps. This direct path from the design to the production tool is very unusual in the current production environment. It is, however, an important prerequisite for customised manufacturing in the future.