Our Challenge for the Cutting-edge Micro-machining Technology

Small-sized Butterfly-style Flapping Robot

This robot is similar in size as swallowtail butterfly, approximately 100mm in width and less than 500mg in weight. We created related parts to support the movement of this sensitive robot. World’s smallest universal joints were used, enabling light weight with sufficient stiffness. Usually, layers of carbon are bonded by hand, and boring was also done manually using pin vice. Since there was risk of chipping the hinge needed to be thick. Making micro machining from single aluminum became possible, maintaining both stiffness and lightweight became possible. This is expected to be on market within 5 years.

Development of small insect-like flying robots such as robots have become popular. It is expected to be actively utilized at disaster-stricken sites, moving smoothly between limited spaces, with less risk of danger at times of falling or colliding thanks to its lightweight. Another merit is its energy consumption, which is expected to be near zero during flight. However, since various actuators and sensors need to be installed on a mere few cm, few g machine to enable motivity and position control, there still remains challenges until it is put into practical use.

Taro Fujikawa Asst. Professor at Tokyo Denki University has analyzed flight mechanism of swallowtail butterflies and succeeded in developing a butterfly-style flapping robot with a flight control mechanism using down stroke to ascend, and upstroke to advance.

・Related research paper: “Insect-Style Flying Robotics” Robotics Society of Japan Vol.34 No.1, pp19-23, 2016 (PDF in Japanese) (PDF

Comment from Taro Fujikawa, Asst. Professor at Tokyo Denki University

“Design possibility has drastically expanded. We used to design parts considering the minimum size limit, but now we can just design what we need, in the size we want.”

Other Micro-Machining Challenges

Small-sized Butterfly-style Flapping Robot
(Taro Fujikawa Laboratory, Tokyo Denki University)

World’s smallest universal joints were used, enabling light weight with sufficient stiffness.
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Parts Manufacturing System with Repeat Accuracy within 0.003mm (verified)

Analysis was performed to verify accuracy of 1mm cubes, cylinders, and forceps produced using ORIGAMI, and 0.008mm accuracy was verified.
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Micro Manufactured Product Examples

Planet gears, shaft holders, bolts, and other micro part product examples are listed here.
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