Data61 looks to advance robotics capability with 3D printer

CSIRO's Data61 wants to bolster its robotics capability, seeking a 3D printer to help it reach its goal.

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The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation's (CSIRO) Data61 is on the hunt for a 3D printer to assist with research and support its growing robotics capability.

According to the request for tender (RFT) published overnight, Data61 is seeking the high-end, multi-material 3D printer to assist with research and to support the organisation with soft robotics emerging capabilities, as well as aid the development of complex robotic systems.

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The printer will support Data61 with the development of sensors for integration into marine wildlife, and in printing multi-material granular materials, as some examples.

The printer is required to print non-standard materials, such as heat-resistant polymer skins and sensorised/composite soft body materials, the RFT explains.

Specifically, Data61 has asked the printer be capable of handling a significant volume of work, creating production-quality parts, printing a variety of hard and soft materials, as well as be integrated into existing 3D printing-related initiatives in use by the Robotics and Autonomous Systems group (RASG) within Data61.

The RASG focuses on building and deploying robotic systems that perform in environments labelled as challenging, such as outdoors, in remote regions, or in difficult terrains.

"RASG has identified this printer as a key piece of infrastructure for continuing to develop our robotics capability," the tender explains. "The range of parts that could be created on such a printer would bestow our robots with enhanced abilities beyond those currently attainable, and allow us to use our robots in more challenging scenarios. It will be a crucial tool for our engineering team as they continue to push the state of the art in applying 3D printing for custom, high-performance robots."

The tender closes April 23, and it is expected the contract will begin by April 30, 2018.

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