Design and Fabrication of Wheeled Adjustable Robotic Arm Stand

Photo of Nicolas Pantoja, Robert Jimenez, DJ DuBose Students: Nicolas Pantoja, Robert Jimenez, DJ DuBose

Sponsor: Los Alamos National Laboratory

Date: Fall 2011

Requirements:
The stand must support two SIA5D robotic arms and two controllers. It should deploy the robot arms into a large range of gloveport locations, and specifically it should insert the arms into the gloveports of the glovebox at the Pickle Research Campus. The robot base should deflect no more than 20 mm while inside the glove port. Additional degrees of freedom should be added, either by spinning the arms in relation to the base or adding 15 degrees of tilt to the arms. The stand should also be easily adjustable and mobile according to NIOSH guidelines to limit strenuous repetitive lifting. The stand should minimize the footprint of the stand in the lab. Expenses for the project should not exceed $10,000.

Problem:
LANL is conducting research into using robots in glove box applications to reduce radiation exposure to humans and eliminate difficult processes. A previous design group produced a conceptual design for a wheeled adjustable stand to deploy robot arms in glove boxes. For the current project, the team reviewed, verified, and improved the conceptual design. A fully functionally stand to support a dual arm robotic system for glovebox experiments was delivered for use at The University of Texas at Austin.

Solution:
The team used concept generation techniques, design by analogy, and Pugh chart evaluation to determine designs for the stand. We developed several concept variants for the major subsystems: the platform truck, the lifting column, and the shoulder joint. The platform truck uses steel rectangular tubes as the base for forking and adding weight, casters and floor locks for stability, and a turntable that allows the arms to spin in relation to the base. The lifting column takes advantage of an off-the-shelf drill press crank to raise and lower the arm position. The columns can be shifted horizontally on a slotted rectangular tube. The shoulder joint uses friction plates to hold the arm in position. Torque on a hinge bolt is released to tilt the arm to different angles, and tightened again to secure the arm. The stand is painted to match the blue and white colors of the robotic arms it supports.

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