Now that I got my controller working and the stepper motors moving with a RAMPs board, I decided to get started on The Claw. I knew that I would have to go thought a bunch of iterations of the claw before getting one that I liked so I wanted to start early.
I knew I wanted a 3 pronged claw to make it easier to pick up the balloons. I need it to be as light as possible so that the motors could lift it. If it had to have some electronics in the claw its self then I wanted them to be as simple as possible.
I made a mistake here and rushed off and made it out of cardboard. I didn’t think this design thought fully and I just wanted to get something done in a night.
The first version was made out of cardboard and only had two prongs (grippers). I did this to make it simple (it was a prototype after all). It worked but not very well. I told myself that it was because it was made out of cardboard instead of wood. I quickly designed a three pronged version in inkscape, took it down to VHS and laser cut it.
Both of these where failures and I quickly abandoned them. Haste makes waste.
I slept on it and instead decided to do some researcher before I designed my next version.
- The Claw by AntMan232 on instructables.com. - I like how this design attached the prongs (grippers) to the bottom plate. Its simple and it doesn't require the use of ball bearings. I didn't like how it uses springs to normally keep the prongs apart and a servo as a pulley to pull them together.
- Motorized K'nex Claw by T86157 on instructables.com - I briefly considered making it out knex. They are light, I have a huge box of them and I could make many proto types in a single night. I decided against it as it doesn't have that home made touch that I was looking for.
- Robotic Claw - MKII from sparkfun.com - I also considered buying a claw. There are several different versions out there and it would have made my life a lot easier. But it just didn't feel right for this project, I wanted to do it all from scratch.
- CRANE GAME by marc.cryan on instructables.com - I really liked the overall simplicity of this one. It may look ugly as can be but its simple and works. It uses a motor attach to a metal screw with the end of the screw in a bolt. When the motor is activated the screw turns in to the bolt pulling up the platform. The video does a much better job of visualizing it then I do of describing it.
More research is needed… 52 days left !