Ihave had a lifelong interest in electronics and electro- mechanical projects. This led me into ham radio as a teenager, and eventually to a career in engineering and product design. Through the years, I have been slowly adding to my home workshop “arsenal of machinery.”
I graduated from simple hand tools when I got my first
drill press. As my appetite for more elaborate project
complexity grew, I acquired a small metal-working lathe.
Then, I finally bought a “mini-mill.”
After I became bored counting the turns of the X-Y
stage crank handles every time I needed to make a machine
move, I added some digital readouts. Soon after that, I
upgraded to stepper motor drive and converted the mill to
CNC operation. Now, I can load some G-code, lock down
the blank stock to the table, set a work piece home point
coordinate, and hit the start button!
All is well, or almost. I find that getting the home point
set to a specific location on the work piece remains a
tedious challenge. Although I have tried standard rotating
edge finders, I more often than not resort to loading an
1/8 inch drill bit into the machine and then manually
moving the stage while working to eye-ball the drill tip to a
reference point or mark on the work piece.
Semi-autonomous vehicles — from vacuum cleaner bots to
extraterrestrial rovers — need to dock from time to time to
recharge or deposit samples. In this two-part mini-series,
we’ll look at a core component of any docking station: the
close-range guidance system that indicates a dock has
occurred. In this example, the decision making will be in the
hands of the operator, but the key indicator — a laser mark
— is equally applicable to your next robot experiment.
62 SERVO 05/06.2018