Text and pictures: Jonna Mielonen-Jumisko

A hot wire cuts the styrofoam sheet very carefully. Little by little, a figure appears to the sheet. Finally, the little figure cut off.

Luka Ivanovskis checks the figure and compares it to 3D model on the computer screen.

Yes, they are almost identical.

Luka is happy. This was the goal of his thesis.

Luka graduates from the degree programme of mechanical engineering on June. As his thesis, he designed and built a software and a robot to people who build flying airplane miniatures. With the software and robot, the pieces used in the miniatures can be cut off the foam sheet automatically.

Usually, the pieces must be cut off by hand. Luka wanted to create a device to do that.

“This is a prototype”, Luka says.

“It’s not perfect yet. But this a model, and this is something I can continue developing in the future.”

The intended 3D shape should be first created in computer model, with a 3D modelling software like SolidWorks. The model is sliced into thick layers that can be cut out of styrofoam sheets. File with 3D models of these slices is fed directly to the machine, Luka's program processes it and generates appropriate commands for LEGO motors to cut all the pieces.

In the future, this kind of robot could possibly be used in other use of purposes too.

Prototype is built of LEGO bricks. It’s an easy way, since many people know LEGOs beforehand.

“It’s easier to start building robots if you already know the material. In principle, this could be done also at home”, says lecturer Jouni Könönen, who has tutored Luka's thesis.

Luka has already started to plan the R&D of the robot and software.

“I’ll start my master studies at the Lappeenranta University of Technology in the autumn. Maybe I can continue the project there.”

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