3D printed magnetically-actuating micro-gripper operates in air and water

Guangbin Shao, Henry Oliver T. Ware, Jigang Huang, Rihan Hai, Longqiu Li*, Cheng Sun

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


The emerging trend towards miniaturization of robotic grippers is motivated by the needs for precise manipulation of smaller objects within confined spaces. However, it faces a multitude of challenges in micro-fabricating, assembling, and actuating the grippers with increasingly smaller dimensions. To overcome these challenges, we report here a method to 3D print a magnetically-driven triple-finger micro-gripper for robust micro-manipulation in air and water. Magnetic actuation was chosen for its advantage of untethered operation in complex surroundings. Mitigating the trade-off between mechanical compliance and magnetic actuation forces, the monolithic micro-gripper design comprising compliant mechanical flexures and magnetic force actuation units was rapidly fabricated using micro-continuous liquid interface production (μCLIP) process. Finally, we attached the 3D printed gripper to a robotic arm and demonstrated its ability to manipulate micro objects both air and water. This work may enable potential biological and biomedical applications such as operation of live cells and soft tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101834
JournalAdditive Manufacturing
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • 3D printing
  • Magnetic actuation
  • Micro-continuous liquid interface production
  • Micro-gripper
  • Robotic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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