This section contains detailed step-by-step instructions for casting a PneuNets bending actuator. As explained in the previous sections, the PneuNets actuator consists of two parts: the main body containing the chambers that will expand when the actuator is inflated, and a bottom layer containing a strain-limiting material such as paper. The two parts are molded separately and then glued together. With the use of an oven to accelerate the curing process, the actuator parts can be cast and assembled in less than an hour. An overview of the process is provided below.

Process overview

Mix elastomer and pour it into the molds. Fill the main body mold completely; fill the base mold halfway then put a piece of paper on it to serve as the strain-limiting layer.

Cure both parts, and demold the main body.

Fill the remaining half of the base mold with uncured elastomer.

Using the uncured elastomer as glue, bond the main body piece to the base.

Cure the two pieces together.

Demold the final actuator.