Sculpted Soft Robotic Tentacle
by gianteye, published
These files were created for a collaboration with sculptor Jake Waldron ( http://www.jakewaldron.com/ ). To try making your own soft robot with these files you will need a little familiarity with silicone mold making and casting.
You can find more details and documentation on the process as well as other robots made in this fashion at http://bit.ly/softrobots
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To use them, print a copy of the solid tentacle. Sculpt over it, avoiding anything below the little ears that stick out of the base. When the sculpting is finished, throw a 2 part mold over the entire thing, using the base as a sprue.
Print out the bathtub, seal it, and cast RTV silicone into the tub. When it cures, peel the RTV out of the tub (making sure to slit the overhang on the bases of the christmas tree looking parts with a razor blade), and cast wax into the resulting mold. This will form the interior air bladders for the tentacle.
Now, assemble the tentacle interior like in the last photo, place in your two part mold, and fill the mold with silicone. When the silicone cures you can pull the wax out cold or boil it in water and squeeze it out like toothpaste. Hook this up to some air (I tend to use the pump and hose off a blood pressure cuff) and, there you have it... one creepy tentacle.