A real friendship blended by digital fabrication

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Artica is a creative computing Portuguese company, specializing in digital fabrication, electronics production and app development, which aims to transform emerging technologies and art into impactful human experiences. These peeps work with electronics and computing, so they love robots, digital fabrication and prototyping!

As you probably noticed on our website, Artica and Azorean are buds. Artica have been producing Ziphius’ shell prototypes, in their laboratory, where they have a CNC (Computer Numeric Control) milling (milling is a cutting process that uses a milling cutter to remove material from the surface of a work piece) and other machinery for object fabrication.

CNC Milling

We spoke to André Almeida, who told us a bit more about the whole process behind making Ziphius’ shell come to life! Apparently it was a first run for them, since Ziphius was the first three-dimensional object created with their CNC.

“Making Ziphius’ shell has given us the opportunity to explore our CNC’s machine new capabilities. Before this, the CNC has been used a lot on our robots Farruscos for bi-dimensional cutting (cutting PVC, acrylics, wood) but with Ziphius we had to implement new techniques, as it is a 3D object. It has to be done in slices, first on one side and then the other, to be machined in both sides.”

Each shell takes from 16 to 20 hours to be created. André said they are working on improving the timing each time they produce a new one. It’s all about experience and process optimization! Artica members envision that they can still shorten the time, which is great.

CNC’s milling operation is extremely easy: you have three axes (X, Y Z) and a motor for cutting. First a raft cut is done to prune the material, and then a more detailed cut to give the shell its form. “Ziphius will be an aquatic drone, so there will be a submerged part. Ziphius’ hull is cut in a longitudinal way, according to the water flow” says André. 

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João Ribeiro and André Almeida, keeping up with Ziphius’ shell prototyping

Not  everything is smooth sailing… there were, of course, failed attempts. For instance, trying to get the perfect height so all the pieces fit together and Ziphius achieved its intended size. But it all ends well, or as André puts it, Ziphius’ shell is “pixel perfect”! 

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André Almeida and Guilherme Martins: Robots, robots everywhere!

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Artica’s office – from left to right: BEETHEFIRST. Sapo, Farrusco, Ultimaker and, on the second image, Magabot

We would like to thank Artica for all the hard work. André, João and Guilherme, thanks for taking the time to chat with us! 🙂

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