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A project log for Cable Robot

Using low cost parts to construct a cable robot with incredible capabilities.

TomTom 08/05/2019 at 03:231 Comment

The project has generated some excitement and there have been people asking about helping. It provokes the questions as to what are the next big steps in turning a cable robot into something more useful than a very cool way to pick up beer cans. So here are my thoughts on the next steps.

1. Going embedded: Right now I run the LinuxCNC software on a old desktop computer that I have from college. The reason why? Parallel port. I started looking at the marlin firmware for 3D printers sometime back, and would like to use to control the cable robot such that the computation could take place on the head. The goal would be a microcontroller dedicated to motion control, and then something like a Nvida Jetson or Raspberry pi for any AI or Camera work. 

2. Everything is on head, meaning move all the motors, the controls, etc... to the head (head meaning the point where all the cables come together, the end effector). I think this makes things more practical. Basically the only other hardware is just hooks on a wall.

3. Servos: I want to play with servos. The thing that is cool about the cable robot is that you can scale the payload size. Meaning if you want to do some camera work you can use some pretty basic servo motors. Also as one comment noted, the encoder doesn't have to be on the motor. For example here is a cheap DC geared motor and a encoder that could be used to create a servo drive system. This requires just a basic brushed DC motor control.

Discussions

James Newton wrote 08/11/2019 at 21:03 point

Totally agree on point 3. You missed a servo controller, but that's easy. My BOB PID or any of several other systems will do that. DC Motor drivers are cheap, but be warned that most don't actually work correctly. Get a SyRen 25 or 50. Or I have a few of my DC motor drivers left if you want to try one. 

Not sure about point 2... that will be interesting... Might be right... but you have to feed high power line as well as control lines. And you have to weather proof more stuff if you want to use it outside. Extra weight, which will slow things down, but I guess that helps stability so maybe it's better in the end? I'll be VERY curious to see how that works out. 

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