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The exterior of a robot might come as an afterthought to some robotics developers, but your choice of materials will affect its safety, durability, and even aesthetics. Any design project should include considerations of how a robot will move, whether it will operate around people, what tasks it will perform, and the anticipated environment.

Other considerations include ease of cleaning and repair, weight (which affects overall power requirements), design for manufacturing, and, of course cost.

Collaborative robot arms, or cobots, are very different from autonomous underwater vehicles, aerial drones, or other field robots. A robot that works inside an MRI machine must be made of certain materials, while a stationary robot in a factory may need other characteristics.

Here are some of the materials to keep in mind when designing and building robots.

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