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406 EXPERIMENTING WITH GRIPPER DESIGNS
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FIGURE 27.2 An assortment of girders from an Erector Set toy construction kit.
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TABLE 27.2
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PARTS LIST FOR TWO-FINGER ERECTOR SET GRIPPER.
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4 1/2-inch Erector Set girder 3 1/2-inch-length Erector Set girder 1/2-inch-by-6/32 stove bolts, fender washer, tooth lock washer, nuts 14- to 16-gauge insulated wire ring lugs, aircraft cable, rubber tabs, 1/2 by 1/2-inch corner angle brackets (galvanized or from Erector Set)
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You can add pads to the fingers by using the corner braces included in most Erector Set kits and then attaching weather stripping or rubber feet to the brace. The finished gripper should look like the one depicted in Fig. 27.5.
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You can use a readily available plastic toy and convert it into a useful two-pincher gripper for your robot arm. The toy is a plastic extension arm with the pincher claw on one end and a hand gripper on the other (see Fig. 27.6). To close the pincher, you pull on the hand gripper. The contraption is inexpensive usually under $10 and it is available at many toy stores.
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4 1/2"
Finger
Pivot bar
3 1/2"
FIGURE 27.3 Construction detail of the basic two-pincher gripper, made with Erector set parts.
1/2" x 6/32 bolt Gap between finger and pivot bar
Fender washer
Pivot bar Finger Tooth lock washer Nut
FIGURE 27.4 Hardware assembly detail of the pivot bar and fingers of the two-pincher gripper. a. Assembled sliding joint; b. Exploded view.
Chop off the gripper three inches below the wrist. You ll cut through an aluminum cable. Now cut off another 1 1/2 inches of tubing just the arm, but not the cable. File off the arm tube until it s straight, then fashion a 1 1/2-inch length of 3/4-inch-diameter dowel to fit into the rectangular arm. Drill a hole for the cable to go through. The cable is offcentered because it attaches to the pull mechanism in the gripper, so allow for this in the hole. Place the cable through the hole, push the dowel at least 1/2 inch into the arm, and then drill two small mounting holes to keep the dowel in place (see Fig. 27.7). Use 6/32 by 3/4-inch bolts and nuts to secure the pieces. You can now use the dowel to mount the gripper on an arm assembly. You can use a small 3/4-inch U-bolt or flatten one end of the dowel and attach it directly to the arm. The gripper opens and closes with only a 7/16-inch pull. Attach the end of the cable to a heavyduty solenoid that has a stroke of at least 7/16 inch. You can also attach the gripper cable to a 1/8-inch round aircraft cable. Use a crimp-on connector designed for 14- to 16-gauge electrical wire to connect them end to end, as shown in Fig. 27.8. Attach the aircraft cable
408 EXPERIMENTING WITH GRIPPER DESIGNS
FIGURE 27.5 The finished two-pincher gripper, with fingertip pads and actuating cables.
FIGURE 27.6 A commercially available plastic two-pincher robot arm and claw toy. The gripper can be salvaged for use in your own designs.
to a motor or rotary solenoid shaft and activate the motor or solenoid to pull the gripper closed. The spring built into the toy arm opens the gripper when power is removed from the solenoid or motor.
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This gripper design uses a novel worm gear approach, without requiring a hard-to-find (and expensive) worm gear. The worm is a length of 1/4-inch 20 bolt; the gears are
TWO-PINCHER GRIPPER 409
Hole for cable
Dowel Set screw
Arm tube
End view FIGURE 27.7 Assembly detail for the claw gripper and wooden dowel. Drill a hole for the actuating cable to pass through.
Coupling Cable to claw (spring loaded inside claw)
Steel aircraft cable Motor spindle
FIGURE 27.8 One method for actuating the gripper: Attach the solid aluminum cable from the claw to a length of flexible steel aircraft cable. Anchor the cable to a motor or rotary solenoid. Actuate the motor or solenoid and the gripper closes. The spring in the gripper opens the claw when power to the motor or solenoid is removed.
standard 1-inch-diameter 64-pitch aluminum spur gears (hobby stores have these for about $1 apiece). Turning the bolt opens and closes the two fingers of the gripper. Refer to the parts list in Table 27.3. Construct the gripper by cutting two 3-inch lengths of 41/64-inch-by-1/2-inch-by-1/16inch aluminum channel stock. Using a 3-inch flat mending T plate as a base, attach the fingers and gears to the T as shown in Fig. 27.9. The distance of the holes is critical and depends entirely on the diameter of the gears you have. You may have to experiment with different spacing if you use another gear diameter. Be sure the fingers rotate freely on the base but that the play is not excessive. Too much play will cause the gear mechanism to bind or skip. Secure the shaft using a 1 1/2-inch-by-1/2-inch corner angle bracket. Mount it to the stem of the T using an 8/32 by 1-inch bolt and nut. Add a #10 flat washer between the T and the bracket to increase the height of the bolt shaft. Mount a 3 1/2-inch-long 1/4inch 20 machine bolt through the bracket. Use double nuts or locking nuts to form a freespinning shaft. Reduce the play as much as possible without locking the bolt to the bracket. Align the finger gears to the bolt so they open and close at the same angle.
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