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FIGURE 27-10 Using a slide potentiometer to register position feedback. The wiper of the pot can be linked to any mechanical device, like a chain or belt, that moves laterally.
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The advantage of the incremental shaft encoder is that its output is inherently digital. You can use a computer, or even a simple counter circuit, to count the number of on/off flashes. The result, when the movement ends, is the new position of the arm.
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To learn more about . . . Using DC motors and shaft encoders Using stepper motors to drive robot parts Different robotic arm systems and assemblies Attaching hands to robotic arms Interfacing feedback sensors to computers and microcontrollers Read 20, Working with DC Motors 21, Working with Stepper Motors 24, An Overview of Arm Systems 27, Experimenting with Gripper Designs 29, Interfacing with Computers and Microcontrollers
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EXPERIMENTING WITH GRIPPER DESIGNS
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he arm system detailed in 27 isn t much good without hands. In the robotics world, hands are usually called grippers (also end effectors) because the word more closely describes their function. Few robotic hands can manipulate objects with the fine motor control of a human hand; they simply grasp or grip an object, hence the name gripper. See Fig. 28-1 for an example. Gripper designs are numerous, and no one single design is ideal for all applications. Each gripper technique has unique advantages over the others, and you must fit the gripper to the application at hand (pun intended). This chapter outlines a number of useful gripper designs for your robots. Most are fairly easy to build; some even make use of inexpensive plastic toys. The gripper designs encompass just the finger or grasping mechanisms. The last section of this chapter details how to add wrist rotation to any of the gripper designs.
28.1 The Clapper
The clapper gripper is a popular design, favored because of its easy construction and simple mechanics. You can build the clapper using metal, plastic, wood, or a combination of all three. The parts list in Table 28-1 is for the parts used to build the metal and plastic clapper shown in Fig. 28-2.
Copyright 2006, 2001, 1987 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Click here for terms of use.
EXPERIMENTING WITH GRIPPER DESIGNS
FIGURE 28-1 The two-pincher worm drive gripper.
The clapper consists of a wrist joint (which, for the time being, we ll assume is permanently attached to the forearm of the robot). Connected to the wrist are two plastic plates. The bottom plate is secured to the wrist; the top plate is hinged. A small spring-loaded solenoid is positioned inside, between the two plates. When the solenoid is not activated, the spring pushes the two flaps out, and the gripper is open. When the solenoid is activated, the plunger pulls in, and the gripper closes. The amount of movement at the end of the gripper is minimal about 1 2 in with most solenoids. However, that is enough for general gripping tasks. Cut two 1 16-in-thick acrylic plastic pieces to 11 2 by 21 3 in. Attach the lower flap to two 1-by-3 8-in corner angle brackets. Place the brackets approximately 1 8 in from either side of
TABLE 28-1 2 2 1 1 8
Parts List for the Clapper 11 2-by-21 2-by-1 16-in thick acrylic plastic sheet 1-by-3 8-in corner angle bracket 11 2-by-1-in brass or aluminum hinge Small 6- or 12-vdc spring-loaded solenoid
2-in-by-6 32 stove bolts, nuts
28.1 THE CLAPPER
Hinge Top Flap Spring
Bottom Flap
Solenoid Aluminum Flat Stock
Angle Bracket
Top View
FIGURE 28-2 The clapper gripper. a. Assembly detail; b. top view.
the flap. Secure the pieces using 6 32-by-1 2-in bolts and 6 32 nuts. Cut a 11 2-in length of 11 2-by1 8-in aluminum bar stock. Mount the two brackets to the bottom of the stock as shown in the figure. Attach the top flap to a 11 2-by-1-in (approximately) brass or aluminum miniature hinge. Drill out the holes in the hinge with a #28 drill to accept 6 32 bolts. Secure the hinge using 6 32 bolts and nuts. The choice of solenoid is important because it must be small enough to fit within the two flaps and it must have a flat bottom to facilitate mounting. It must also operate with the voltage used in your robot, usually 6 or 12 V. Some solenoids have mounting flanges opposite the plunger. If yours does, use the flange to secure the solenoid to the bottom flap. Otherwise, mount the solenoid in the center of the bottom flap, approximately 1 2 in from the back end (nearest the brackets), with a large glob of household cement. Let it stand to dry. Align the top flap over the solenoid. Make a mark at the point where the plunger contacts the plastic. Drill a hole just large enough for the plunger; you want a tight fit. Insert the plunger through the hole and push down so that the plunger starts to peek through. Align the top and bottom flaps so they are parallel to one another. Using the mounting holes in the hinges as a guide, mark corresponding holes in the aluminum bar. Drill holes and mount the hinge using 1 2-in-by-6 32 bolts and nuts. Test the operation of the clapper by activating the solenoid. If the plunger works loose, apply some household cement to keep it in place. You may want to add a short piece of rubber weather stripping to the inside ends of the clappers so they can grasp objects easier. You can also use stick-on rubber feet squares, available at most hardware and electronics stores.
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