Thursday, January 20, 2011

Quad Flexpicker

I finally took some pictures of my current project.  Please don't be too critical of my workspace.  I am far from finished and I just took pictures as is; I didn't clean at all. The frame is about 84 inches (214 cm) long, 26 inches (66 cm) tall, and 19 inches (48 cm) wide.  I am guessing that the system should be able to pick at least thirty bricks a minute.

Here are some of my successes so far:
- PID control of the conveyor.  This is so each robot can "time" the brick and know when to pick it up.
- Improved motor control.  I set a goal speed for the whole robot, but each arm moves a different speed.  I have automatically adjusted each motor speed so all the motors will arrive at their target at the same time.  This makes the robot shake less and makes the motion much more fluid.
- Straight Line moves.  I take point A and point B in the movements, calculate all the points in between on a straight line and make the robot end effector move on that line.
- Complex geometry-SOLVED.  Special thanks to mzavatsky on the Trossen Robotics site.
- Light communication.  The conveyor sends a binary light message to the 4 robots identifying time to pick and what color the brick will be.

So here are some pictures....

Air compressor, tanks, pumps, gage, and pressure switch

Robots 1 thru 3 and the spaghetti (cords and tubes)

Robot 4, close-up.

Robots 3 and 4 from below, and one of the conveyors.

And finally, the whole brick pickin' thing..
(notice the empty 2 liter bottles of Diet Coke and the Twizzler wrapper!)

I still have a lot of work to do on it, so don't expect a video any time soon.  Right now it all works well, I just need to fine tune some stuff.  I just got about 10 feet of bulldozer treads for another conveyor as well as a Mindsensors Pressure Sensor to control the air compressor.

And by the way, this is a conversation I had with my wife yesterday.

Me:  So, I think I want to take the robot to Brickworld
Wife:  I was looking at the website and it looks really cool.
Me: I know
Wife:  But I noticed that the theme this year was "FIVE" and your robot only has......

I would love to stay and talk, but I only have five months to get ready for Brickworld!!!

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