Satakunta University of Applied Sciences has a Universal Robots 5 (UR5) robot arm, which is utilized for educational purposes by students as well as for school demonstrations. A demonstration that has proven popular at public events includes a program in which the robot pours the contents of the bottle into three cups. One major issue with this demonstration is the need to manually ensure the placement of the cups. The number of drinks served at these public events range from tens to hundreds, depending on the audience, so it made more sense to use a machine to place cups automatically.
Robotics Academy was commissioned to build an automated dispenser that drops individual cups for the robot to place. Initially, we studied different options and mechanisms for our cup dispenser. We wanted to be able to change out the mechanical parts easily if necessary, so we decided to design parts that can be 3D-printed. Our entire dispenser is designed with SolidWorks, a 3D mechanical engineering software, from the body to all the mechanical parts specifically to fit the robot.
The final model was printed on the school’s Ultimaker 3D printer as individual physical pieces. We chose to use biodegradable and inexpensive PLA plastic. The roll of plastic cable is fed into the printer’s extruder head, which melts the material and extrudes the plastic as thin layers on the heated print bed. 3D printers can use materials such as plastic, metal, ceramic or glass. In this way, making the new parts (e.g., gears and other parts) is as easy as possible. The biggest challenge in designing was to make the cups drop one by one, not in multiples.
Arduino is a small microcomputer capable of executing a variety of C ++ programming languages. Implementing the project required functional teamwork and creative problem solving, along with learning C++. The coding of the Arduino Uno, the brains of the dispenser, also brought its own challenge. It took some time to get the dispenser to drop the cup and then extend after receiving the signal to put it within reach of the UR 5 robot. The solution is designed to be editable if there is a need for it in the future.
In the project, we learned a lot about 3D design, 3D printing and Arduino coding. It is perfectly possible to utilize every aspect of corporate painting or even at home, so please contact us, so we look at how we can help you.