Characterization of Soft 3-D Printed Actuators for Parallel Networks
Soft pneumatic actuators allow compliant force application and movement for a variety of tasks. While most soft actuators have compliance in directions perpendicular to their direction of force application, they are most often analyzed only in their direction of actuation. In this work, we show a characterization of a soft 3D printed bellows actuator that considers shear and axial deformations, modeling both active and passive degrees of freedom. We build a model based on actuator geometry and a parallel linear and torsional spring system which we fit to experimental data in order to obtain the model constants. We demonstrate this model on two complex parallel networks, a delta mechanism and a floating actuator mechanism, and show how this single actuator model can be used to better predict movements in parallel structures of actuators. These results verify that the presented model and modeling approach can be used to speed up the design and simulation of more complex soft robot models by characterizing both active and passive forces of their one degree-of-freedom soft actuators.