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So I've got this articulating arm...

Posted by Dalius98 
So I've got this articulating arm...
January 28, 2016 11:04AM
So I've got this articulating arm and I'm not exactly sure what to do with it.
imgur album

A bit of a back-story: I am an "Automation and Control" student (going through the second year atm), and my friend working at a scrapyard got a hold of this equipment thinking it should be of some use to me. Now, because of the slow educational process, I am still going through the basic stuff like maths/physics/simple circuits in my university, and the only stuff I know about CNC equipment is self-taught - which is not much, frankly.
That's why I would appreciate a bit of help, an intro to robot arm control, so I could either discard this equipment as not working, or store it until I am ready to tackle some project with it...

So, the first thing to do, I guess, would be to figure out how to interface with the arm. Since it's basically salvaged equipment (and a one-off project, by the looks of it) I can't get any info on the thing. It would be nice if someone experienced could take a look at it, and tell me how to control it, or what to look for, what am I missing...

There is an RS-232/485 converter on one of the inputs, the rest of them go straight inside the case of the arm. To my inexperienced eye it looks like there might be two different ways to interface with it, or maybe one connector for debugging purposes, but honestly I have no idea. Same goes for the board - I think it it some sort of controller, but it's pretty small compared to the ones used in 3D printers - maybe just a breakout board? imgur album Edit: no motors, so it's probably the right size to be some kind of "encoder decoder" or whatever.

As for the motors, they are pretty small, and nicely embedded within the joints, but I am not too sure whether they are servos or regular steppers. Edit: well, i'm now pretty sure these are guided by hand when measuring, so there's probably no motors inside, just encoders. Is there a way to know the answer, without disassembling the joints? I am not feeling comfortable enough disassembling it in my dirty garage/workshop, and my room is cluttered with stuff from my ongoing CoreXY project already...

Please take a look at my imgur album with more and better quality photos. I wasn't sure if filling this post with photos was a good idea...

oh, and by the way - what are those?

some kind of a homing switch perhaps?

Edited 4 time(s). Last edit at 01/28/2016 05:15PM by Dalius98.
Re: So I've got this articulating arm...
January 28, 2016 01:12PM
I see "ROMER INC" on a board, which led me to -- I guess you have one of their products. Maybe you can find a manual for it somewhere?
Re: So I've got this articulating arm...
January 28, 2016 04:50PM
I see "ROMER INC" on a board, which led me to -- I guess you have one of their products. Maybe you can find a manual for it somewhere?
oh, good find.smileys with beer
There is nothing written on the outside of the frame, which led me to believe this was some sort of experimental project, but maybe Romer just sell these "blank" so the user can write whatever he wants on the plates, or maybe it's just the board that's been used... I'll do some more reseach.

EDIT: just realized that these are used for measuring BY GUIDING THEM by hand, so that's probably just the encoders embedded in the joints, rather than motors... no wonder they seemed so small. A bit of a let-down for sure, but it still would be cool if I could get it working. Shame there's no scanner on it, just two prongs...

EDIT #2: so,even if I could figure out which connector I should use, how to power it, etc, the only software Romer has (that I could find) is this and it requires a licence. I'm not sure I want that just to test and play around with the arm sad smiley

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/28/2016 05:42PM by Dalius98.
Re: So I've got this articulating arm...
January 28, 2016 07:37PM
... this seems to be a common coordinate-measuring arm - I've used some from Faro with bigger or smaller arms.

They won't be usefull for a motor-driven roboter, as the length of the arms needs much more torque, than motors of the sice, fitting in the joints can handle.

For using in coordinate-measuring you can learn how to read the sensors/encoders in the joints and build/program an own controller ...

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