Ever since he looked into them as a way to water and care for his plants, [Tom] has been fascinated with cable robots. These high-flying gadgets can move in three dimensions over huge areas, provided you’ve got the ability to string up the aforementioned cables. But despite their flexibility, there hasn’t been a whole lot of hobbyist level development with these unique systems.
With his entry into the 2019 Hackaday Prize, [Tom] is hoping to change that. He’s learned a lot by building his own cable robots, and now wants to take it to the next level. Ideally with collaboration from the community, if he can find other hackers looking to outfit their homes or workshops with their own miniature sky cranes.
So what can you do with a cable robot? In the video after the break, [Tom] shows one of his creations dutifully transporting beer cans across the room and stacking them into a pyramid. Admittedly this isn’t a particularly useful capability (unless you run a bar, perhaps), but it does show the speed and dexterity of the system even when crossing large distances. If you’ve ever wanted to play the home edition of “Automate the Freight”, this one’s for you.
The system uses a trio of 36 volt stepper motors powered by a homebrew SLA7078 driver that [Tom] designed himself. Each stepper turns a geared-down spindle to which a strong cable is attached. With some clever routing around the workspace, careful orchestration of these small winches can be used to move the point where all the cables meet in 3D space. All that’s left is mounting your gadget of choice to this central point, and away you go.
We’ve seen the concept used commercially, but as far as hobbyist projects go, the most activity we’ve seen in this space would have to be the various room sized 3D printers that have popped up over the years. It would be interesting to see what kind of interesting projects the community could come up with if they had something with a little more muscle.
Continue reading “Getting Hackers Excited About Cable Robots”
If necessity is the mother of invention, then laziness is probably its father. Or at least a close uncle. Who hasn’t thought, “There has to be a better way to do this, one that doesn’t involve me burning precious calories”?
Motivational laziness seems to increase with potential energy, as anyone who needs to haul groceries up four flights of stairs will tell you. This appears to be where this balcony-mounted drill-powered crane came from. Starting with a surplus right-angle gearbox and drum, [geniusz K] fabricated the rest of the crane from steel plate and tubing. We like the quality of fabrication and the tip on making slip couplings from bits of square tubing. The finished product got a nice coat of brown paint to match the balcony railing; keeping the neighbors happy is always important. He tested the crane with a 20-kg weight before installing it on the balcony and put it to work hauling groceries up three stories. Check out the build and the test in the video below.
While it won’t set any speed records, at least the drill is doing the work. But what if you’re impatient as well as lazy? Aside from being two-thirds of the way to programming greatness, you may have to up the game. A heavy-lift quadcopter, perhaps?
Continue reading “A DIY Balcony Crane Lifts Groceries For The Lazy But Patient”
You say to yourself, “Self, I want, nay, need a lathe”. Being a good little trooper, you then did all your research, having chosen Import or American, Imperial or Metric, and all your feed options and such. You then pulled the trigger and the machine is en route to your shop. Now what?
Continue reading “Preparing For A Lathe: How To Move 3000 Pounds Of Iron”
Some people are better than others when it comes to documenting their hacks. Some people, like [Micah Elizabeth Scott], aka [scanlime], set the gold standard with their recordings. Hacking sessions with the Winch Bot have been streamed regularly throughout the build and this is going to lead to a stacking effect in her next projects because the Winch Bot was designed to record hacking sessions. Hacking video inception anyone? Her Winch Bot summary video is after the break.
The first part of this build, which she calls the Tuco Flyer, was [Micah Elizabeth Scott]’s camera gimbal hack which we already covered and is a wonderful learning experience in itself. She refers to the gimbal portion as the “flyer” since it can move around. The Winch Bot contains the stationary parts of the Tuco Flyer and control where the camera will be in the room.
Continue reading “Winch Bot Records Hacks And Cats”
The trademark hacker style of Hessian YouTuber [Homo Faciens] is doing a lot with a little. Given a package of parts from a sponsor, he could have made something “normal” like a fancy robot arm. Instead, he decided to make a winchbot. (Video embedded below.)
What’s a winchbot? It’s a big frame that supports three relatively heavy motors that pull steerable gripping arms around. It’s a little bit like the hanging Hektor / wallbot / plotterbot and a little bit like a delta-style 3D printer. Although [Homo Faciens]’s build doesn’t showcase it, a winchbot is also a great way to lift heavy things because the parts that need to be beefy — the frame and the lifting motors — don’t have to move. We love the gimballed square rod that works in concert with the winches!
With five extra servos on hand, and the computing power of a Raspberry Pi, [Homo Faciens] couldn’t just stop with lifting a claw. Instead, the gripping-arms part of the bot is mounted with four degrees of freedom and is powered with software that makes it stay parallel with the table and rotate around the gripper to make programming easier. Watch it in action in the video to see what we mean.
The biggest unsolved problem that we can see is the jerkiness that it displays in moving things around. That doesn’t stop it from building up a tower and a domino knock-down. We suspect that there’s some combination of firmware and hardware tweaking that can solve this problem, or it could just be run slowly so that the wobbles damp themselves out. We’re also quite confident that [Homo Faciens] will come up with an elegant and cheap solution. Have you seen his CNC machine?
Continue reading “[Homo Faciens] Builds A Winchbot”
We’ve seen a lot of hacks from [Lou] and his latest continues the tradition of excellence. The entryway of his home is a couple of stories high and features a chandelier. Unfortunately he doesn’t have a ladder tall enough to use when changing light bulbs. Even if he did have a way to get up there it would be nice if the light fixture could come to him instead. This hack makes that happen by adding an electric winch to lower the light fixture.
Watching the installation process makes us think that [Lou] might be a little reckless. He’s up in the attic mounting a winch to the rafters before he cuts the board holding the fifty-pound chandelier’s junction box in place. He mentions foregoing the recommended cable fastener in lieu of some baling wire. But he does manage the task without dropping the ball so to speak — perhaps we shouldn’t be so critical of his methods. After altering the chandelier mounting bracket to work with a winch [Lou] wires an outlet in the attic and adds a plug to the cord on the light. This means he needs to go into the attic to unplug the light before lowering the fixture on the winch. But he’s not done yet. After the break you can watch the second part of the project with improves upon this by adding a wall switch to control the winch and extension cord management to route the power.
[Lou] really loves his automated home gadgets. Check out the gaming table which drops from the ceiling.
Continue reading “Winch Hack Lets Your Change Chandelier Light Bulbs At Ground Level”
As every kid quickly finds out, sledding in the winter is awesome until you have to trudge back up to the top of the hill. If your sledding run is reasonably short, this isn’t a problem, but if you sled on huge hills like [Josh], you need to figure something out.
He had a go kart motor sitting around, so he figured he might as well put it to good use as a sledding winch. The winch runs a continual loop of over 1000 feet of rope, and is able to pull 3 adults up a 30 degree incline fairly easily. They say that necessity is the mother of innovation, but at some point you have to ask, “Does sledding really require an 8 HP motor and a continuously variable transmission?” The answer, of course is a resounding “Yes!”
Not only does this winch allow [Josh] and his friends to get back to real business of sledding in a hurry, it actually makes sledding fun in both directions.
Keep reading to see a video of the winch in action, and be sure to check out some other fun uses for winches we have featured in the past.
Continue reading “Super Winch Makes Sledding 100% More Fun”