:: robotic arm

Programmable Robotic Arm

Electrical & Computer Engineering Capstone Project


The Programmable Robotic Arm was my fourth year electrical engineering Capstone design project, in collaboration with Michael Awad-Allah, Ahmad Shawky and Michael Simone. Its purpose was to design and construct from scratch a fully automated robotic arm, capable of being programmed from an external device then run by its own controller.

Robotic Arm (Mechanical)

The main component in terms of visibility and end result is the mechanical and servo motor component of the project, designed primarily by Ahmad Shawky and Michael Awad-Allah. The arm itself has five degrees of freedom and uses a gripper tool as a good end effector for demonstration purposes.

3D Model of Robotic Arm

The actual physical arm is built from flat sheets of 1/8" and 1/16" sheet aluminum, machined by the Technical Support Centre at the University of Windsor based on AutoCAD details provided to them.

Control Circuit

The control circuit, designed primarily by Michael Simone and Aaron Mavrinac, consists of three components: the Atmel microcontroller unit, used to store and execute program sequences; the serial communication interface, used to receive instructions from the programming device; and the power distribution circuit, used to supply the proper voltages and sufficient current to the other two components and each servo motor used in the robotic arm.

Control Circuit

The PCB for this circuit was manufactured by ExpressPCB; the ExpressPCB design program file can be downloaded here.

Programming and Simulation Software

The programming software used for the proof-of-concept was written for Microsoft Windows by Aaron Mavrinac and Ahmad Shawky. It allows instructions to be input in an intuitive form by the user, simulating them graphically for verification and then sending them via serial link to the control circuit.

Programming Software

Additionally, a simple instruction interpreter and serial transfer program were created in C to be compatible with sequence files saved by the Windows software, which was compiled for GNU/Linux and FreeBSD.

Final Product (Proof-Of-Design Prototype)

The proof-of-design prototype can be seen in action in the video and pictures below. These were taken during execution of one of several demonstration sequences programmed prior to the showing.

Robot Home Robot Grab Robot Up

Please note that all materials I still have related to this project are already here on this page. Feel free to contact me for help building your own, but all I can offer beyond what you see here is advice.

Last modified Tuesday, March 01, 2016 (17:46 UTC)

Aaron Mavrinac

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