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3D Printing for EOAT

Get the custom item you need for your EOAT from EMI.

From 1 part to 100 parts, simple or complex, EMI’s 3D printing service is fast and economical.

3D printed End of arm tooling

Since 2013, EMI’s engineers have been utilizing Additive Manufacturing in robotic handling applications for the automotive, medical, consumer goods and plastic injection molding industry.

As an industry leader in robotic End-of-Arm-Tooling (EOAT), we have found new, innovative ways to approach the traditional EOAT application. From custom nests to advanced hybrid gripper fingers, EMI is continually pushing the limits of 3D printing to support automation in the plastic injection molding industry.

Our EOAT Engineers understand the additive manufacturing process from design to post processing and installation because it is done in-house with quality checks in every step of the way. We have found ways to take additive manufacturing to the next level with complex designs that are used in real world, industrial applications. Find out more about our 3DV for Cobots HERE.


3D printed parts nest

Creating a negative of your molded part to nest and support it has never been this feasible. Isotropic properties allow 3D printed components to act as support and high precision elements in light and heavy duty EOAT applications.


3d printed fingers for electric grippers

Vacuum Nests

Vacuum nests are an ideal application for 3D printing. Detect, secure and align your molded part, with simple or complex geometries.

Materials for clean room applications are available from EMI. Talk to our EOAT experts!


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3d printed fingers for eoat toolings

3D Printing for Cobot Accessories

EMI’s Solenoid Valve Kit for Collaborative Robots is an essential add-on for all pneumatic applications. It enables you to actuate Single Acting (NO/NC) and Double Acting end effectors while using a single Digital Output and compressed air line. Organize and secure pneumatic and electric lines running down your robot arm with the 3D printed cable management system


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3d printed fingers for eoat toolings

Vacuum Fingers

Vacuum fingers are a great way to handle your part and detect it without the use of sensors. Talk to our engineers to see if this is right for your application!


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3d printed pneumatic finger gripper

Gripper Fingers

Gripper fingers that would normally be machined out of aluminum can be confidently designed and 3D printed for most applications. Thermal properties vary by material and soft-touch HNBR pads can be added.

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Components that require very specific geometries can be quickly prototyped using FDM (left finger pictured) and validated before a tool is finished giving ample time for design changes to improve performance. When a final geometry is chosen, the parts can be manufactured (either traditional machining or through additive manufacturing) knowing that they will work perfectly (right finger pictured).



3d printed gripper finger

Printed Guides and HNBR Padded Gripper Finger Stops

Custom angled paddle gripper fingers with HNBR are used to support the handling capabilities of Gripper Fingers. Accurately reaching behind a part is achievable with Gripper Fingers, and adding a 3D printed stop offers an even more secure grip. Gripper Fingers with 3D printed stops are a great alternative to handle parts that cannot be gripped with parallel grippers or vacuum cups. Find Gripper Finger Accessories here.


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3d printed internal porting with suspension

Internal Porting

Create complex internal porting that would otherwise be very costly to machine! Below, a SLA printed vacuum manifold demonstrates how EMI can design & print parts with internal channeling for vacuum systems.


3d printed internal porting with vacuum

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3d printed internal porting with suspension

SLA Printing Option

Different 3D printing methods can be combined to achieve a level of customization that only EMI can offer. Utilize the AM process and materials to save weight without sacrificing strength. SLA printing (shown below) forms a durable high temp material used for finger pads in a variety of EOAT applications.


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Simplify Tools with Creative Custom Components

Parallel grippers are one of the most common ways to grip molded plastic parts. Using custom padded fingers on a high precision SGP grippers are a great way to secure and detect your part without marring it and minimizing scrap.

3D printed End of arm tooling

This plate-style tooling incorporates fiber optic sensing with an expansion gripper for ID part handling inside of a 3D printed nest. All available from EMI with the help of our EOAT team. See new Fiber-Optic Sensors.

3D printed End of arm tooling

In the application here, a 3D printed nests mounted on suspensions align the part with vacuum for part detection. Once detected, GX radial grippers secure the parts while the robot traverses to drop them on a conveyor.

3D printed End of arm tooling



3D printed End of arm tooling

Comparing EOAT Structures


Profile-Based EOAT 3D-Printed EOAT Plate-Style EOAT
Lead Time Fastest Fast Varies by application
Weight *** * **
Adjustability *** * *
Common Applications
High Number of Cavities *** **** *****
Small Parts ** ***** ****
Large Parts ** ***** ****
Insert Loading ** ***** ****
High-Speed Molding ** ***** ****
Degating ** ***** ****
EOATs with Nesting Features ** ***** ****

Profile Based EOAT are a proven solution for industrial applications. As you start to expand, weight adds up but the adjustability only increases. EMI has all the needed components in-stock to build adjustable EOAT that can also include 3D printed components for a more custom approach to your application.

EMI’s 3DV Gripper Kit for Cobots is the perfect example of applications for 3D printed EOAT. Internal porting, built-in clamps and pressed inserts help keep it a lightweight, low-cost solution.

Plate Style EOAT offer the highest precision, with reasonable weight requirements, where in some instances, adjustability can be offered for the less critical features of the application. 3D printed components are a perfect addition to plate tools. Custom laser cut or machined plates do require some manufacturing time, and EMI can help with that as well.




Machined vs. Additive Manufacturing

Our engineers will work with you to develop an optimal product by analyzing your project requirements and time considerations. 3D printing materials have advanced significantly, and the resins we use are well suited to 3D printing gripper fingers and other EOAT components. See our comparison chart below for more information.


3D Printing Machining
Lead Times *** * Due to the fast and robust nature of the processes lead times are better for 3D printing
Precision ** *** Machining can hold tighter tolerances than 3D printing
Complexity *** ** 3D printing has less manufacturing constraints so it can produce more complex parts
Strength ** *** Machined metal is stiffer and stronger than plastic
Thermal Limit * *** Metal can handle higher temperatures
Weight *** * Complex internal lattice structure can be utilized in printing to lighten parts
Material Efficiency *** * Very efficient process allows for very little scrap
Cost Effectiveness *** * In general 3D printed parts cost less than machined parts

*Comparison can differ depending on materials and processes




EMI offers four methods of 3D printing for EOAT applications:


MJF FDM SLA SLS
Description Powder-based PA-12 (Nylon) is our main method due to its isotropic and mechanical properties. Nylon based with composite filament reinforcement. (Carbon fiber, fiberglass, Kevlar or high-temp fiberglass) Provides exceptional detail and a wide variety of materials that can be used in many EOAT applications. Contact our Engineering Department to discuss your Clean Room EOAT project.
Layer Thickness 70-100 microns 100 microns 25, 50, 100 microns 120 microns
Cost Effectiveness *** ** * *
Tensile Strength *** ** * ***
Heat Deflection Temp. *** ** * **
Flexibility ** * *** **
Brittleness ** * *** **
Surface Finish ** * *** **
Porosity *** * *** ***
Print Time ** * * ***
Production Volumes *** * * *

* Multiple materials available, performance may vary based on selection.

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Features:

  • Certified by Universal Robots
  • Fully Customizable: (1–16) vacuum cups with variable spacing.
  • Select the ideal vacuum cup for your application: High Temperature, Non-Marking Hithane, Dual Durometer for textured parts, Anti-Static, and many other options. Check out our Vacuum Cup Section.
  • Integrated Vacuum Generator with a monitoring switch for part confirmation.
  • Internal manifold inside the core of the frame to reduce hazards from tubing.
  • Lightweight 3D printed frame made out of durable nylon.
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