By karlw » 9 Comments
A lifelong dream has been to have the ability to design a robot using a CAD program and then easily produce a prototype or finished product from that design right on my desktop. After a few months of tweaking my Reprap Mendel 3D printer, that dream has finally come true. I’ve always been interested in designing, modifying and refining robotic grippers. Last week I used Solidworks to create and test a new design that would lower the complexity and number of parts. The great thing about Solidworks is the motion study capability. It lets you simulate the movement or your assembly before creating a physical object. This tool saves a lot of time when figuring out if the assembly is functioning as desired. When the simulated design was working properly, I exported the parts as sterolithography files (.STL). Another program named Skeinforge was used to create g-code that the control software uses to direct the 3D printers movements. The grippers were printed using a strong biodegradable plastic called PLA. I really like the white plastic because it reminds me of the Star Wars storm trooper body armor suits.
3D printed standard servo robot grippers
Robot gripper printed with white PLA plastic.
Karl P. Williams
By kpmartin » 2 Comments
Tuesday night, after most of the crowd had left, I got the 3D printer to move and extrude reliably, and printed two pieces with it. The first was the same part we had printed previously, before we started having nozzle problems: it is a printer part which acts as a spring mount for the home-position optosensors. The other is a Kwartzlab logo rendered in 3D by Alex with some modifications (scaling and a base to hold all the parts as one) by myself.
Fresh output from the 3D printer
The two smaller L-shaped bits are artifacts of the GCode generation. The print head returns to the XY home at the end of each layer, and once the Z axis has moved up, the first thing done is to print another layer on this piece. I think its purpose is to snag drool that occurs during the home and Z move operations.
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So far I’ve got two things that I would like to accomplish at Kwartzlab.
- Add a serial port to my WRT54GL router
- Play with a CNC/3D printer/rapid prototyper
I got the WRT54GL over a year ago. It’s running Linux and keeping my computers networked. However, I’d like to get into some lower-level software hacking, and having a serial console to get access to the system (rather than logging in with SSH) would be very handy. I have a header and serial cable for the header, all that I need to do is solder the header onto the board and buy some parts to convert the signals from that header to the correct RS-232 voltage. I’ll probably need some help learning how to solder!
Apart from that, I’m a software guy who wants to get his bytes dirty. I’d like to see what I can make a computer make a CNC do. If we don’t have any such hardware, then I guess we’ll have to build it!