If you’re thinking of building a moving machine, chances are you’ll be considering wheels or chains or maybe even a prop to get you up in the air. When [nwlauer] found an earthworm in the garden and inspired a 3D printed robot that uses peristaltic movement. Below is a video that is moving.
The robot uses pneumatics and soft plastic and is apparently waterproof. Your printer’s feed path needs to be pretty rigid to support flexible filaments without blocking. There are also some PVA filament and silicone tubing available.
For the control side, an Arduino controls a diaphragm pump and six small solenoid valves. We were amused to read that the solenoid valves are widely used in eye massagers. The code is on GitHub.
The segments have Ninjaflex along with PVA support inserts. You glue the centers of each segment together, but not the edges, and then dissolve the PVA to form the air chambers inside.
The movement doesn’t look very efficient, but it probably handles a lot of terrain options. We’re not sure there is any real hands-on application for this technique in its current form, but we bet it could be customized, and it’s just a cool example of something that, in addition to printing phone cases, also comes with flexible ones Filament has to do.
We’ve seen Ninjaflex being used for more practical purposes like custom belts. Keyboards are another handy project.