Pursuits of Design and Robotics

The documentation of concept development and general processes

Guided Hand: Machine Aid for the Analog Process

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Using a Haptic Phantom Touch device to guide the hand as it uses
a 3D Printing Pen, allowing for more efficient hand 3D printing.

FRFAF Request Justification

The majority of the money will go to the Haptic Phantom Touch which costs around 2500$. The rest of the money would go toward purchasing the 3D printing pen and the equipment required to make a moving table-bed not unlike those found in a MakerBot, with the additional capability of rotation. This would require 4 motors, a rubber footed belt, material for the table itself such as the bed, the feet, and some nuts and bolts for making.


Guided Hand will use the Haptic Phantom Touch’s ability to snap to virtual points in physical space and snap to surface boundaries of virtual models. This snapping allows for the hand to be physically guided. I will fix a 3D Pen onto the Phantom so that the guided hand can now 3D print at a higher efficiency, allowing for drawing on virtual boundaries that do not physical exist. This project will explore the capabilities and limitations of the proposed system and conclude with a completed setup that allows for quick and accurate sculptures or prototypes.


This MTID thesis research explores the use of haptic augmentation in developing new artistic tools for sculpture. The use of the 3D pen is currently more of a gimmick, sort of an arts and crafts toy to be played with and then forgotten. By adding a layer of accuracy and efficiency while maintaining some level of freedom, the 3D pen has the potential to be used on a more serious level for fabrication, sculpture, and design. This could change the creation process entirely.


1) Get Haptic Phantom Touch

2) Ensure Virtual Guiding Capabilities

3) Affix 3D Printing Pen

4) Prove Concept

5) Build Moving Table/Bed

6) Control Table and Virtual Model Simultaneously

7) Reconfirm Concept with Multiple Output

The project will contribute to the field by creating the opportunity to guide the hand through 3D space in the same way a ruler guides the hand for drawing. By setting physical limits on movement, snapping to points, and limiting physical movement to virtual surfaces, anyone can use this system to physically 3D print upon a sort of virtual scaffold. The opportunity allows for a design process where fabrication is instant and directly out of the virtual model. Unlike current systems where the entire model must be printed, then observed, then changed virtually, then printed again, this system allows for the user to change the print as he prints with his hand, or even change the virtual model as he prints with his hand, so that the entire process is more symbiotic.

Relevance to FRFAF

This sort of ‘augmented virtual/physical’ process allows limitations on the print by guiding the hand, thus allowing the designer to focus more on the design, worrying less about how to be accurate. It takes advantage of digital accuracy but maintains enough freedom to make way for the valuable hand-craft process. This could potentially open up an entirely new method of working in the design phase. Additionally, this can allow for multiple designs to be directly output based on the same virtual model, so that an artist can iterate through many ideas, all the while maintaining consistency.


This project will be broken down into sub-parts. The first step will be to acquire the Phantom and test its capabilities and limits. I will start by getting it to snap to a basic virtual model, such as a cylinder. I will then affix a 3D printing pen to the Touch and make sure it matches up accurately. Once making proper adjustments and ensuring optimal performance I will build a table that moves in the X Y and Z directions, and rotates. The table will be connected to a 3D mouse which will move the virtual model to match the movement of the physical table. With this system the user can use the left hand to control the position of the table and the right hand to 3D print on a guiding invisible ‘scaffold’. This could allow a table to turn as the pen guides the hand along the synchronously rotating virtual model’s surface. Using the table allows for larger models to be built. Using this system allows for artists to have a hand-crafted effect on their prototypes and sculptures, allowing for physically designed output to be traced over virtual surfaces, with high accuracy down to the millimeter.


I graduated with a B.Arch from Carnegie Mellon in May 2014. I knew before graduating that I did not want to be an architect anymore, but I did begin to take on a great interest in computation design and fabrication processes. They seemed limited to me, very disrupted and cumbersome. I appreciate the direct output of a pen, and the way the artist can change the drawing as he responds to it as he draws it. I saw a lot of digital tools that made the process more efficient, so then students become very dependent on digital tools the the accuracy and efficiency. Why isn’t there a way to accomplish both? My father started a company that sells software which determines machine fabrication efficiency in real time as the machine is doing the fabricating, and correcting errors on the go. Can we not do the same with hand-crafted fabrication? This project is meant to answer that question, and the answer is yes, we can.

Expected Project Outcomes

The audience is to be any designer, artist, or rapid prototyper. They will experience it first hand for my first demo which I hope to release to a gallery or some other type of open-house. Additionally I have plans to publish this project, although I haven’t looked so far into which publications exactly. I plan to grow my knowledge of machine-aid for the analog process through this project. Publishing it will showcase my capabilities and give me some validity to enter the field of design-manufacturing.


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