This week, I decided to draw inspiration from the slug to cast my first silicone actuator. The idea is to create channels of little pouches that act as feet on two separate layers, then use solenoids to inflate one channel and deflate the other to mimic the undulating movements of the slug:
This is the illustrator file I created to laser-cut my acrylic mold. It uses the same method of XYZAidan’s flat pneumatic actuators of casting multiple layers and spraying mold release to create the air channels.
Unfortunately, it did not work as well as I anticipated. The stencil for the 2nd and 3rd layers did not fit snug when I was spraying the mold release so the air pockets were not as defined as I liked. When I attempted to test pumping air into it, the channel ripped slightly and I could feel the air escaping from the sides.
For a future iteration, I want to make a more stable mold and extend the edges so the layers can adhere better and air cannot escape.
Special thanks to Chester Dols for helping me refine my idea & understand molding techniques and Nitish for help with Illustrator.