Andrew Burks

Robotic Manipulation Cup Stacking

by on Dec.02, 2010, under Classwork

Challenge

For the final lab assignment in my Robotic Manipulation class, we were challenged to competitively stack cups.  We were given six 3 inch tall plastic cups, and were instructed to make a 3-2-1 pyramid out of them, then destroy the pyramid, as quickly as possible.  Before we even began working on the project the best team had already done it in only 12 seconds.

The robot arm is currently equipped with a descent pneumatic gripper.  Two big plastic pads squeeze the cups one at a time to contain them.  Stacking cups one at a time is inefficient, but teams were doing it.  Nico and I decided that we needed a some mechanical advantage.

Denso End Effector

Design Goals

The biggest design limitation was that the only way to actuate our device would be to integrate with the existing gripper.  This limits us to on-off control, which prevents us from picking up all of the cups at once and releasing them strategically.

However, the bottom stack doesn’t really need to be picked up, it only needs to be slid across the tabletop.  Also, picking up two cups at once for the middle layer saves time as well.  The top cup could even be optimized by dragging it into the stacking area initially.  If any of these goals could be met, it would give us an advantage over the other teams.

Interface

In our previous lab, we were able to use the gripper to attach our end effector to the DENSO arm.  However, because we rely on the actuation of the gripper to activate our mechanism, we needed an alternate means of attachment.  The T-slots on the end of the DENSO arm are the perfect size for a 1/4” nut, which is the standard size for a #4 bolt.  Attaching here gave us a reliable fixed reference point.

Combined

Fabrication

Using the robotics club CNC, I was able to build the 6 parts necessary for the device.  The only problem I encountered was bowing and vibration in the middle of the largest piece.  Because my piece (11.58”x3.68”) was near the maximum limits of the machine (12”x4”), it was difficult to secure the middle of the stock.  All in all, it took about 5 hours of machining to build the entire mechanism, half of which was slow-going CNC time on the largest piece.

Gripper

Performance

In the end, we were able to achieve a time of 5 seconds.  Nico and I are pleased with the results, and expect to have the fastest time in the class.

:, , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!