Metal 3D printed vacuum gripper tool

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David Durbin

May 25, 2023

A design overhaul for lighter-weight durability

This application concept was designed by application engineers at UltiMaker to showcase one of the many possible ways that metal FFF technology can improve existing processes.

Our team used their experience working alongside partners in a wide range of different industries to identify a valuable use case that leverages the unique advantages of metal printing on UltiMaker printers.


End of arm tooling (EOAT) is a crucial aspect of robotic technology. It refers to the equipment that interacts with parts and components, typically at the end of a robotic arm. Transport tools are applications that are directly involved in interacting with transporting procedures across the production line.

This end-of-arm transport tool with a vacuum gripper is used to pick-and-place products through various processes with its vacuum-powered suction cups.

MFFF Vacuum-Gripper-ultimaker-metal-3d-printing-1

An easy to print tool without supports, which would be costly to machine using traditional manufacturing techniques


This concept part was designed to print easily without requiring supports, which speeds up print time.

It was originally printed using a polymer-based material. It was updated for metal printing by reorienting it so that the inlet arms face downward. A rib was also added for support to give it strength and prevent distortion during the debinding and sintering process. National Pipe Threads (NPT) were also added and a tap was used on the final sintered part so that common off-the-shelf parts could be screwed in and the application could go right into service in the factory.

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This end-of-arm transport tool with a vacuum gripper is used to pick-and-place products through various processes with its suction cups


Print time Weight Cost
7 hours 31 minutes 219 g $32.50

After rethinking the part and optimizing its design, this EOAT is now more durable while remaining easy to print in stainless steel on UltiMaker printers. Machining it using traditional metal manufacturing techniques would be far more costly.

Unlock metal 3D printing

This part showcases the many ways metal 3D printing can achieve breakthrough results in the production of functional stainless steel prototypes.

Click below for more explore more MFFF application inspiration. Or discover how to buy the Ultimaker Metal Expansion Kit for yourself.

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