Joseph Glessner's "Stock Allocator"
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The Stock Allocator

"Looking back" by Joseph Glessner:

* The Stock Allocator is a mechanical model of a furniture manufacturing plant.

* Furniture in different stages of development are moved to different areas of the factory for raw material inventory, assembly, staining, and finished goods inventory.
* A great deal of planning and drafting was needed to formulate this robot.
* A lab book was used exclusively to devise a plan of action and to document progress.
* First, and idea of what the robot should do needed to be thought of.
* Next, details needed to be provided to show how the robot would accomplish it's job.
* Every aspect of the robot needed to be taken into account, including the stability, placement of nuts, bolts and screws, and feasibility.
* The gantry portion of the robot needed to embody a sleek design to maximize the work envelope.
* Application of knowledge of various electrical components was vital in designing items such as the end effector, which needed a device that could securely grip items.
* Aesthetics and simplicity were constant considerations.
* Extricating printer mechanisms in such a way that preserved the integrity of the mechanisms was necessary.
* Printing mechanisms needed to be trimmed down to remove extraneous parts (and weight) with the use of a hack saw and screw driver.
* Careful measurements and calculations insured that the robot would work exactly as planned.
* Details such as the production of the stock required artistic ability and careful measurements to insure that the model was visually pleasing and that the robot could grab and release appropriately, respectively.
* Mastery of soldering was necessary to insure solid connections for wires controlling the motors.
* Interfacing using a bread board was needed to convert computer codes into electrical impulses to move the specified motors.
* Computer programming needed to be devised that would provide control of the operation of the robot.
* Switch sensors were used to "home" the robot in the three axes of movement.
* Stepper motors are exclusively used to move elements with accuracy.
* The motor-belt-pulley system at the left rear base moves the entire gantry complex on metal sliders to provide smooth movement.
* A horizontal printing mechanism is adapted to span the vertical stiles and move a vertical printing mechanism.
* The vertical printing mechanism is used to move a gripper up and down.
* The gripper is lowered to straddle the piece to be moved and a solenoid is activated which closes the gripper so that the piece is held and can be relocated.
* Items are lowered onto exact locations on the factory floor so that, in a real world application, only a minimal area would have to be cleared of work supplies so that the piece can be set down by the robot.