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Working Model Factory Made With Lego Robots

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the because-you-can dept.

Robotics 63

kkleiner writes "In his continuing obsession with all things Lego, robotic, and awesome, Chris Shepherd recently constructed the Lego Quad Delta Robot System, a full working model of an industrial robotics line in a factory. The Lego Quad Delta Robot System has four flexing arms that can move in three dimensions, each equipped with a pneumatically driven gripper. Those arms pick up blocks moving on two conveyor belts marked with special light sensors that detect the block's position and color. The system can move 48 of these blocks per minute. Oh, and the whole darn thing, including the impressive support frame, is made out of Lego!"

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neat (1)

GeorgeMonroy (784609) | more than 2 years ago | (#35896792)

Amazing! I want one!

Re:neat (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 2 years ago | (#35896962)

definitely neat. what I found most interesting is that he programmed the color sensors in fixed locations. each arm always goes to the exact same physical spot for a block pick up, it then moves tot a different bin based on color, goes to the reset spot and picks up the next block that enters it's pickup spot.

Since each arm only picks up blocks in a certain location you would have gaps on density of blocks. However 4 arms provides something like 80% pick up ability so all he needs is a 5th arm so he never loses a block off the end(based on current belt speeds)

Still it is impressive if not very quiet.

It just sorts them? (2, Informative)

mikaelwbergene (1944966) | more than 2 years ago | (#35897050)

It looks neat, but it's just a color sorting machine? It doesn't actually put anything together.

"A factory (previously manufactory) or manufacturing plant is an industrial building where laborers manufacture goods or supervise machines processing one product into another. "

IBM's first products (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#35980328)

were also, essentially, sorting machines.

they counted census cards, and sorted them into stacks.

Re:IBM's first products (1)

mikaelwbergene (1944966) | more than 3 years ago | (#36005300)

But were they considered "factories"?

Even the base Lego NXT kit comes with color sensors for sorting things by color. Don't get me wrong, it's very cool. Just not a new thing or what the summary makes it out to be. Although that doesn't exactly seem unusual...

Re:IBM's first products (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#36016842)

i mean within 50 years. if first products were in 1890s.

you could argue the first 'real IBM' was in the 20s when Watson took over.

anyways.

Overly complicated (2)

locutus53 (578585) | more than 2 years ago | (#35897092)

It's overly complicated for what it does. Sure, it looks neat, but c'mon, four huge arms to color sort some boxes?

Re:Overly complicated (1)

Wiarumas (919682) | more than 2 years ago | (#35897422)

Agreed. Very neat, but not up to my robot expectations when I've seen dog, Watson, etc...

Re:Overly complicated (1)

Dails (1798748) | more than 2 years ago | (#35897564)

Of course it's overly complicated, it's made from Legos. Engineering students build a tiny bridge out of pasta; that's too small for what it does. Point is it shows understanding of concepts and ingenuity in using materials and conditions which are less than ideal. I'm very impressed.

Re:Overly complicated (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 2 years ago | (#35897770)

Someone talented enough to build such a thing from LEGO(R) bricks is certainly talented enough to use real materials. Anyone who limits himself to LEGO(R) bricks is merely limiting his ideas to what a multinational corporation deems acceptable. What the hell kind of nonconformist does that?

PS never call them "legos". LEGO is a registered trademark, and LEGO(R) bricks are the components that the LEGO company produces. If you're going to conform, then bow to your corporate masters like Obama bowing to Hu Jintao.

Re:Overly complicated (1)

Kyont (145761) | more than 2 years ago | (#35899270)

Anyone who limits himself to LEGO(R) bricks is merely limiting his ideas to what a multinational corporation deems acceptable.

You're kidding, right? He didn't limit himself because LEGO sent thugs and told him it was the only thing he could use. He limited it to those for an interesting intellectual challenge (and perhaps, a better chance of getting Slashdotted).

Re:Overly complicated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904370)

Maybe he doesn't want to deal with the mess of building it with real material and just wants to have some FUN (look it up in the dictionary)

Re:Overly complicated (1)

locutus53 (578585) | more than 2 years ago | (#35897984)

Just because it's made from Legos doesn't mean it has to be complicated. What it shows is that the builder likes making something more complex than it needs to be. In the real world, in a real factory, fewer moving parts, smaller space requirements, and higher efficiency will win out over a monstrosity like this.

Re:Overly complicated (1)

PFI_Optix (936301) | more than 2 years ago | (#35900674)

You see overcomplicated. I see multipurpose. Sure you could build a high-speed color sorter that is much smaller and more efficient, but this guy built something that could be used for a lot more than sorting colored blocks. As a proof of concept and early prototype, it's quite good.

Re:Overly complicated (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 3 years ago | (#35912296)

Just because it's made from Legos doesn't mean it has to be complicated. What it shows is that the builder likes making something more complex than it needs to be. In the real world, in a real factory, fewer moving parts, smaller space requirements, and higher efficiency will win out over a monstrosity like this.

YouTube - MythBusters Rube Goldberg Machine [youtube.com]

Just because it's made from random crap doesn't mean it has to be complicated. What it shows is that the builder likes making something more complex than it needs to be. In the real world, in a real warehouse, fewer moving parts, smaller space requirements, and one man simply pushing Buster off the rocking chair by hand will win out over a monstrosity like this.

PS. ever think maybe he built it for FUN and not for EFFICIENCY? It is a color-sorting lego robot, you know. Not a landmine factory.

Haven't you heard of the Pasta bridge of Irlonga? (1)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#35980342)

It was made in 1784 by Monks from St Thomas the Redeemer. It lasted several years until the Visigoths burned it down.

Re:Overly complicated (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35898404)

Looks like most of you never saw a Flexpicker* in action http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9oeOYMRvuQ [youtube.com]

*or any other similar fast sorting robot for that matter, I don't own ABB shares

Legos Rule (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#35897116)

I don't know of any other childrens' toy that can also be used for producing working versions of master theses. Well, maybe an erector set...but I don't even think they make those anymore.

Re:Legos Rule (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35897544)

fishertechnik http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fischertechnik

It used by many engineering schools and technical universities. I used to get boxes as a child.
It was/is always technically ahead of Lego in innovating.

The steel axels makes the toy much more sturdy, and could be used to increase the strength of the normal blocks by sliding them in the grooves.

Re:Legos Rule (1)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 2 years ago | (#35898504)

Also, Fischertechnik has wicked pneumatic and hydraulic gear. Can't look at the catalogue without getting the urge to buy, buy, buy....

Re:Legos Rule (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 2 years ago | (#35897880)

They do make Erector sets still. My son has one. Also it is Lego not Legos. You don't add an 's' to make it plural.

Impressive! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35897118)

I'm thoroughly impressed with the size of that basement. His mother's house must be huge.

Re:Impressive! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35902092)

I am the builder, and I can't stop laughing. That's freakin' funny

well... (0)

Mr.Fork (633378) | more than 2 years ago | (#35897130)

it's neat, and pretty interesting it's also colour smart. Must be a sloooow news day. I mean, it's not like all the Christians are out mourning the loss of Christ or anything. Wait a minute... :)

Re:well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35897342)

Hey, douche. That's Friday.

Re:well... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35897658)

Christians don't really mourn the "loss of Christ" on Good Friday. It's actually more of a day of celebration.

(Off-topic post, sorry. Hope this doesn't explode into yet another /. religious debate. Just sayin'.)

Re:well... (1)

BizzyM (996195) | more than 2 years ago | (#35897832)

Holy shit! Christ died??!!

Re:well... (1)

stonewallred (1465497) | more than 2 years ago | (#35898018)

Fuck me, christ was real?

Wake me when it's a self-replicating machine. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35897196)

At that point, I'll know I should be afraid.

Obsessive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35897212)

This guy needs a girl friend.

Another prime example (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35897254)

of someone that has never and will never get laid...

Re:Another prime example (4, Insightful)

Dails (1798748) | more than 2 years ago | (#35897610)

I'm awfully sick of hearing people talk about smart technicians this way. I guess playing basketball and having lots of sex is the meaningful way to live your life. Incidentally, have you ever seen the beginning of the movie Idiocracy?

Re:Another prime example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35900984)

I guess playing basketball and having lots of sex is the meaningful way to live your life.

Biologically, it's the only meaningful way.

Incidentally, you never hear people say that about people who actually contribute to society. This isn't contributing to society. This is wasting time building something entirely useless using techniques other people came up with.

It doesn't solve any problem, it doesn't invent any new techniques, it just builds something that already exists using Lego. Woo hoo.

Re:Another prime example (2)

adolf (21054) | more than 3 years ago | (#35904042)

It doesn't solve any problem, it doesn't invent any new techniques, it just builds something that already exists using Lego. Woo hoo.

So much for art, eh? Must pretty boring around your place.

Re:Another prime example (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35902192)

i bet my dick gets sucked more than yours, says the builder. in fact, i guarantee it

Looks like... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35897290)

I'm out of a job at the block sorting factory :(

Self replicating (1)

wurp (51446) | more than 2 years ago | (#35897364)

This is cool, but clearly what needs to be done is to build a lego replicator. Surely it's possible to build a factory out of lego that can build a wide variety of lego objects, including a copy of itself.

Then you just feed it a bunch of parts, wait for the exponential growth to kick in, and then you can cloudsource assembly of many lego models. You could sell the (the models or the factories) for a little over the cost of the constituent legos + electricity and still make money.

Re:Self replicating (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 2 years ago | (#35897438)

This is being done with other forms of replicators. The problem with legos is they aren't really sturdy material.

Re:Self replicating (1)

wurp (51446) | more than 2 years ago | (#35897482)

Links?

Re:Self replicating (1)

Antisyzygy (1495469) | more than 2 years ago | (#35897580)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RepRap_Project

http://www.fabathome.org/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page

I also remember reading about another project I cannot find that actually DID achieve the ability to manufacture all the parts but the electronics from the original machine. It could only make things with limited materials though.

Re:Self replicating (1)

wurp (51446) | more than 2 years ago | (#35897678)

Thanks for the links.

I have a MakerBot (a repstrap machine), so I'm familiar with the philosophy. Unfortunately you can only make about half the $$$ value of the machine with another machine right now. (And in fact it's much cheaper to buy molded versions of the printable parts).

I'd be interested in hearing more about your replicator if you happen to find the reference. I have vague notions that I heard of a CNC & chip fab lab designed at MIT to be self-contained and manufacture a wide variety of things, but it required human operation.

Re:Self replicating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35904998)

There's one that can build objects out of Lego bricks:
http://www.battlebricks.com/makerlegobot/

Re:Self replicating (1)

wurp (51446) | more than 3 years ago | (#35906990)

*That* is awesome.

Thanks!

Re:Self replicating (1)

Dails (1798748) | more than 2 years ago | (#35897624)

LEGONET begins building at a geometric rate and becomes self-aware at 0214 EST April 22 2011.

Re:Self replicating (1)

Doggabone (1025394) | more than 3 years ago | (#35903308)

I actually laughed out loud.

Not impressed (2)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#35897512)

Still not a cool as this one [makezine.com] which is also made entirely out of legos.

All fun and games (2)

The Creator (4611) | more than 2 years ago | (#35897606)

That is, until, it decides to terminate the meat bag that keeps mixing up the colours.

Quad Delta Robots are actually impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35897618)

And the fact that this guy was even able to making something mimicking what the actual robots do is quite remarkable.

Robots of the same design used in sorting muffins can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHuDvVa7mkw

If lego parts could be upgraded to move faster, then perhaps it'd appear more impressive.

Re:Quad Delta Robots are actually impressive (1)

tibit (1762298) | more than 2 years ago | (#35898620)

This should be informative -- those robots are impressive to see.

Interesting, but not as entertaining... (1)

TypoNAM (695420) | more than 2 years ago | (#35897668)

The block sorting lego robot arms are pretty cool and all, but this lego monster machine is by far a lot more entertaining and worth every minute of it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWd3vgLaA_M [youtube.com]

Well, at least to me cause I'm a nerd. =p

Sorter for all legos (1)

llZENll (545605) | more than 2 years ago | (#35897774)

What I've always wanted is a machine that you dump all your legos into and it sorts them by color, not just special blocks but any lego piece. Another sort that would be very useful is by type: short beams, long beams, small panels, big panels, wheels, axles, gears, technic beams, etc...

The plural of Lego (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 2 years ago | (#35897910)

is Lego. No 's' required.

Re:The plural of Lego (1)

Minwee (522556) | more than 2 years ago | (#35898538)

I think you misspelled "LEGO".

Re:The plural of Lego (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35899992)

You're both pedantic sycophantic douches.

Re:The plural of Lego (1)

oldmac31310 (1845668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35943898)

Ha, ha. I don't think you understand the meaning of 'sycophantic'. Nice try though.

interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35898270)

I for one welcome our new robot overloads

Why didn't he build another robot (1)

theillien (984847) | more than 2 years ago | (#35898510)

To take the blocks from the bins and place them at the beginning of the belts? Man, what a slacker.

Re:Why didn't he build another robot (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 2 years ago | (#35899056)

A robot that puts itself at the end of the assembly line and makes more robots like itself.

Re:Why didn't he build another robot (1)

theillien (984847) | more than 2 years ago | (#35899280)

See, now you're thinking!

Stop dissing already! (1)

northernfrights (1653323) | more than 2 years ago | (#35898800)

Ok people, the reason this is cool is because he replicated a specific type of factory robot called a 'pick and place delta robot', not because he couldn't think of any other way to sort the blocks. This type of robot is the fastest way to sort and place objects that are coming down a conveyor belt at random intervals and placements.

The fact that the submitter made it sound like you were going to be watching a manufacturing robot does not make this less impressive.

Check out a video of how a real delta robot looks in action, and you can see how cool it is that he was able to achieve this with only legos: Bosch Paloma-D2 Packaging Robot [youtube.com]

THIS JUST IN! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#35900210)

Chris Shepherd, fights for Robots, want to marry his creation, ex-wife weeps.

Where's Sarah Conner and the Terminator (1)

dwywit (1109409) | more than 3 years ago | (#35901770)

I expected to see a little shiny endoskeleton looking around in confusion while a small blonde figure hides behind a stairway.

The Next Step (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35903580)

The next step of course is to build it in Minecraft.

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