A year ago hackers at shackspace successfully reverse engineered an old educational robot and it was used for, besides other things, light painting.
The previous article already hinted at bigger things that might happen in the future. And we like to announce that this future is now!
The industrial robot that arrived a bit over a year ago at shackspace can finally be put to (evil) use!
The arm is a true monster compared to the old table-top arm.
It’s a Manutec R3 6-DOF robot arm, weighing in at around 300 kg and able to carry up to 15 kg worth of tools to be placed with an accuracy of up to 1/10th of a millimeter. On top of that the control computer, I/O and driver cards fill up a full-sized control cabinet.
One of the reasons we didn’t feel comfortable to power it up until now was in huge parts the need for a separate room (safety considerations) that also included a 16 Ampere power outlet (serious business). With the recent extension and partial remodeling of shackspace this requirement was finally met.
To keep things somewhat flexible the robot was mounted on a thick steel plate and equipped with heavy duty lockable wheels. To keep the whole thing from topping over four struts where added for support.
But the robot refused to work for anything longer than a few minutes. Long hours of testing cables for defects and more abstruse possibilities of failure finally culminated in (rightfully) blaming the current heatwave for the issue. Equipping the control cabinet with a huge radial industrial fan proved successful: the robot was running stable for hours.
Next up were hours of getting used to controlling the robot manually and programmatically, the latter using a (somewhat horrible) German-based programming language specifically designed for robots… back in the 1980’s.
Some hours later and a couple of Club-Mate bottles with precision-pierced bottle-caps later, a basic tool mount was designed, welded and fixed to the arm. @4rm4 improvised a pneumatic cylinder using a 10×100 mm PVC pipe, washers, bolts, a long screw and hot glue. This in turn was combined with a laser-cut gripper fixed to the tool mount.
The results speak for themselves: