Why Use Pneumatics?

Prebuild project two is responsible for rebuilding a robot using pneumatics, including replacing the claws, spine, and majority of interior mechanisms with air pumps. A robot of this type uses pressurized air to move around its parts. The intent of the project is to prepare new members for the build season while giving experienced members a review of the development process. The project is manufacturing-oriented. Respectively, most team members are on the build team with only a few members on design or programming.

Pneumatics have many advantages in comparison to lead screws, the main engine we used last year. Air pumps carry much less weight, require less wiring, and are simpler to use. Due to their simplicity they are also very reliable. Furthermore, pneumatics have the potential to be stronger and have easier securing methods. However, pnematuics require a lot of tubing which can take up valuable space. They could also potentially restrict shoulder movement if the robot arm needs to reach down low.

We are currently in the process of brainstorming the designs. In our first prebuild project meeting, we introduced our original robot to the new members on our team. After explaining the basic mechanisms and functionality the mentors taught us how pneumatic pumps work. The team was then split in half; one team brainstormed ideas on methods to refit the robot’s claws with pneumatics, and the other to refit the spine.

So far, the two major ideas on the claw is to either replace the lead screw with the pneumatic cylinder, or to add one cylinder on each side. Meanwhile, the group dedicated to designing the spine is still debating on the best process. The meeting concluded at 7pm so that members can research different implementation methods on their own.

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