About this project
Want to make your own delta robot? Do you support the global onslaught of adorable little yellow machines? If you answered yes to either of these questions... then we have the best product to offer you!
The kit includes all of the delta’s mechanical pieces in grey and neon yellow plastic (the yellow fluoresces under black light!), all of the spacers, brackets, ball bearings, and hardware required to assemble them, and the electronic components, PCB and wire harness needed to wire it up and give the delta power.
- 1 brain board PCB
- 6 arms
- 3 servo paddles
- 3 servo brackets
- 1 end effector
- 6 base spacers
- 4 PCB spacers
- 12 steel balls
- 3 Power HD servo motors
- 2 acrylic mounting plates
- 1 RGB LED with wire harness
- 1 dome light defuser
- hardware needed for assembly (M3 socket head cap screws)
- 1 AA battery holder with switch
Each kit will come with one assembled ‘Hex Brain’ PCB, which drives all the servo motors and the colored LED. The board is equipped with the ATMega 328, and will be broken out so that all pins are accessible for personal use. The brain will include programming headers so that you can reflash the chip’s memory with ease.
The PCB will come loaded with example code that implements the inverse kinematic math needed to drive a delta robot. There will be several routines to choose from that will make your delta move on it’s own, but you can use this skeleton code and build upon it for your own projects.
If this is your first robotic minion, fear not!
- The robot's U-joints snap together with ease onto steel balls, limiting the need for excessive hardware and allowing for a more sleek appearance.
- The robot's joints are designed to pop apart under strain before any damage is done to the motors driving them.
- The delta robot's brain PCB is also compatible with the Arduino's user friendly programming platform.
Interested in doing something completely unique with your delta robot?
- The delta robot's brain PCB is fully broken out so that you can make use of the ATMega 328's unused pins.
- The brain PCB is equipped with programming headers so that the ATMega can be reflashed with ease.
- The end effector will come with mounting holes so that you can add your own attachments to it.
- Any code we develop for our delta robots will be available to our backers so you can try out our ideas with your robot too!
What are the robot’s dimensions? The delta robot is approximately 20cm x 20cm wide, and 20cm tall when at rest (a little less than 8” x 8” x 8”).
What is the end effector’s range of motion? The end effector can reach a diameter of approximately 28cm (about 11”) and can travel up and down on its z-axis 13cm-15cm (about 6”).
How much weight can the robot hold? The robot is able to lift around 12oz (a can of soda) with its end effector. We optimized our delta's joints so that they snap onto steel balls and use tension to stay in place. This makes the robot more stream-lined, however it also limits the amount of weight the end effector can carry. While you can attach your own PCB, extra LEDs, 3D printed attachments, or whatever ligh-weight additions suit your fancy, you probably don't want to bolt a frying pan to it.
How fast can the end effector move? Running at full speed, we were able to clock our delta moving approximately 150mm/sec on its z-axis (up and down), and 250mm/sec on its x-y axis.
How accurate is the robot? Servo motors are easy to program and very friendly for those new to electronics, but they aren't as accurate as their cousins, stepper motors. Though they are reliable in their positioning, don't expect to use our model of delta as a high-end pick and place machine or a 3D printer. These yellow creatures are meant to live a more pampered, artistic lifestyle.
As the Kickstarter progresses, we'll be releasing short videos of cool projects we've developed with our deltas along with instructions and code so you can try them yourself.
Here is an example where we interface our delta robots with the motion capture technology of the Kinect. This is one of the mini projects we'll be outlining :
KINECT INTERFACE DEMO
Reprogramming Your Delta's Brain
With the use of an FTDI cable you can plug your delta's brain PCB into your computer and upload new code to it with the Arduino programming platform. (In addition you can also use an AVR programmer.)
This video outlines the easy steps you'll need to make in order to fill your robots brain with new thoughts! After this is done you'll be able to try out the short example projects Mark and I will be posting here throughout the duration of our Kickstarter.
"Small" Volume Production
The Parts : If we make our minimum for funding we plan to produce the parts for our kit on a task force of 3D printers, which means the pieces will be made of PLA or ABS plastic. Though this will take longer than if we had everything made overseas, it will cost us less and we'll be able to keep a closer eye on what's being produced to ensure a consistent quality.
The Components : We plan to have our boards assembled locally, so the PCB you'll receive in your kit will be complete and ready to use. In addition, we'll be ordering the bulk of our parts, hardware, and connectors for the kit in bulk so we get discounts for quantity. Once we receive all of our materials, we will be personally compiling the parts and misc components into packaging to be mailed to you.
Large Volume Production
Say we hit this thing out of the park and sell many, many more kits than we were anticipating... well, we've thought about that too. There is a point where production in house with 3D printers is no longer viable and it's in our best interest to have our parts milled or injection molded. The more parts we end up needing to make, the more funding we will have to put towards appropriate alternatives for production. Exactly where and how will depend on the number of kits we need to assemble for fulfillment compared to the amount of money we were able to raise.
What Mark and I have in common is that we both love the challenge of designing something better than anyone else has. Since we met, we've had a friendly competition over who can build a better robot; him with his mad engineering background... or me with my artistic repertoire.
I have a long history with traditional arts. I'm a graphic artist, illustrator, painter, sculptor, and I will make or build pretty much anything I care enough to see exist. Since I had the idea to make the dancing field of light- I've been learning everything and anything I need to know in order to make it real... this includes building circuits, writing code, and designing parts in CAD. This whole project represents the amount I've grown since I decided to take the leap from what I was most comfortable with, to the new and fantastic world of tinkering with electronics.
Mark is a wizard. With over twenty years of experience as an electronics engineer, he can do pretty much everything I'm learning to do with his eyes closed (except soldering). He's a monster at circuit design, writing code, and is constantly keeping me on my toes with better revisions of everything I make. On top of that, he has a keen eye for aesthetics. This project is just one of our many collaborations. Between his techie know-how and my crazy visions, we are a force to be reckoned with. Good thing for everyone that taking over the world is at the bottom of our todo list.
Want to see more? Visit our project website here :
Also, keep up on our progress on my robotics blog here :
Risks and challenges
If we meet our minimum funding, we will use a task force of 3D printers to produce the bulk of the parts. This method of production will cost less in the long run, however the down side is that it will take longer to fulfill our orders and we might need to hire extra help to make sure production stays at a maximum and the printers are serviced regularly to keep a consistent quality.
If we exceed the amount needed to fund our project we'll be able to take production over seas and pay for injection molding. This will cost more up front, but will allow us to make higher quality pieces quickly and in larger volumes. This alternate plan of action doesn't come without its own set of risks however, as there is a low margin of error involved with injection mold set up and it is likely we may need to get at least one mold retooled. We won't consider this option unless our project's success permits us extra funds to account for this possibility.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
While researching rates for shipping services that included tracking, Mark and I discovered that it costs around $100 for a 2 pound package (what the heck?). USPS has a special service that does include tracking internationally and the price was on average $50-$70 to most countries... so we picked the median.
The delta robot is approximately 20cm x 20cm wide, and 20cm tall when at rest (a little less than 8” x 8” x 8”).
The end effector can reach a diameter of approximately 28cm (about 11”) and can travel up and down on its z-axis 13cm-15cm (about 6”).
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