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• # Need ideas for my mechanical engineering project!

Discussion in 'The main mechanical design forum' started by engnewbie, Feb 9, 2017.

1. ### john12Well-Known MemberEngineeringClicks Expert

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Yeah, a lot depends on the size of the cubes. If they're small then you can probably use the manipulator but over a certain size it will overbalance itself (unless the base is really heavy).

Another point is how do you actually grip the ice cubes? They're potentially quite hard to grab as they're so slippery. Maybe you need a gripper with a small spike or a high-friction surface.

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3. ### allenlisa1987New Member

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Feb 2019
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Hie there!
I can help you with that If you want. The company where I am working provides the project help on engineering related topics and information.

4. ### s.weinbergWell-Known MemberEngineeringClicks Expert

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The short answer is that there are 1000 ways to do this, and of course it can be purely mechanical.
There are going to be a lot of considerations to consider as far as picking the best way.
Such as:
- how big is your workspace (how big is the pyramid going to be, how far away are you picking up blocks)
- how heavy are the blocks
- how many controls can you use
- what are the most important considerations (e.g. accuracy vs speed)

To get started, you'll probably need some way to grip the blocks. Some kind of gripper might work, or you could try something like a suction cup if you want.

Then you need a way to move the block in 3D space. Probably easiest to control your axes individually(either x/y/z or diameter/angle/height).
This is where you can do this 1000 different ways. You could wind string onto a spool to set the height, for example. Or use gearing or belts. Or, if it's a small distance, use cams. Or a linkage. Same with the other axes.

An arm with hydraulic control through syringes is another cool solution, as another poster mentioned. I've done those before, and they work great, if a bit touchy to control accurately.
I appreciate that you aren't asking us to do your project, but maybe a bit more detail would help narrow the options.

By the way, these kind of projects are always stressful, but awesome in hindsight. I can pretty much guarantee you'll pull out a reasonable solution. It always ends up working out.

I remember the most cartoony project from my time in school: We had a large piece of insulation foam, two pencils, and a string.
Nothing else was allowed, the foam could be cut into two pieces, max, and the string had to be used to pull down the catapult arm, and be cut to launch. We needed to create a catapult to launch a hockey ball as far as possible. In two weeks.

On a similar note, for the final project for that same course the year before mine, they did large arms that would grab soft balls hanging at various heights and distances and put them in a basket. Those were huge, and they used power drills to control the axes, but its pretty similar to your project, and you could use the afore-mentioned syringe-based hydraulics to accomplish a smaller version (our final project was a purely mechanical pizza-making line [microwave oven at the end wasn't mechanical though ] )

Last edited: Feb 20, 2019