vIrOU4VhA 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:

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Reader's Comments

  1. Andreas | August 18th, 2013 at 11:05

    Hi,

    the results that speak for them self aren’t there !

    Btw.

    the language has everything at hand to get the job done,
    just learn it:

    conditions, jumps, memory set/get, arithmetic, simple motion control/ptp/lin, advanced motion control (pendulum for welding seems or grinding)

    You should download the specific handbook from the Siemens download page (it is still availiable as scanned pdf)

    Well it has very short abrevations, but you must think of the 8086/80186 processors used in the baby and the whopping amount of 200kByte(or less) of ram, why you don’t find a java style language.

    therefore the programming depth you can achive with the rcm is fairly deep, and for amateurs sufficient.

    Heat problem – if the controller cabinet has a back side with a pvc “heat exchanger” just dismantle the back side, this will most likely solve every heat problem.

  2. Andreas | August 18th, 2013 at 11:11

    Also if you managed to get the robot stuck over a security bero and can’t get it off by using “Handbetrieb” you need to use the brake overrides (pressbuttons on cover of axis 2). They work in the style of two button safety, one general unlock needs to be held down + the axis specific unlock, there might also be an external connector (4 pins) with it you can supply power to the brakes, to “fold” the robot if the control is out of order.

  3. hadez | August 19th, 2013 at 11:14

    Thanks a lot for the tip about the heat exchanger! We’ll look into that.
    We already know about the break overrides :)
    It’s quite helpful to have a few members that got schooled on industrial robots, which we have :)

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