Digitally Fabricated Reduction Drive for Low-Cost Robotics Applications

Gooneratne, Shaun (2021) Digitally Fabricated Reduction Drive for Low-Cost Robotics Applications. [USQ Project]

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GOONERATNE Shaun dissertation_redacted.pdf

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Throughout the robotics industry there is a widespread requirement for high-speed electric motors to be slowed down, to increase accuracy and precision, while increasing the torque output. Electric motors are most efficient at high RPM’s; the robotics industry requires outputs that have control, high accuracy, precision, and torque. To achieve this, a gearbox/reduction drive must be utilised to reduce the output speed and increase the torque of the motor.

Reduction drives can be a substantial expense in the overall project costing, with drives starting at $120 and ranging up to $4,000. This amount adds up significantly when several drives are required for a project. In addition to low cost, another key criterion is zero backlash (backlash impacts the accuracy of the drive). An emerging reduction drive, known as the Archimedes drive, utilises steel rollers instead of teeth to provide a high reduction, high precision drive. With the potential of being able to digitally fabricate this type of drive it will enable cost-effective prototyping, allowing for greater innovation in other aspects of mechatronics. However, it will likely be difficult to digitally manufacture a reduction drive to the required specifications.

The primary aim of the project was to digitally manufature a cost-effective reduction drive for use in mechatronics, particularly for research and education. A reduction drive concept was designed and manufactured using a 3D FDM printer and then evaluated. A design, build and test methodology was employed to firstly determine the suitability of digitally producing a reduction drive and secondly evaluate its performance. The newly developed Archimedes friction drive was selected as the most appropriate model to be digitally fabricated for the desired purpose. However, as the Archimedes drive has not yet been released to the public, nor are there many available details on its design, there were some gaps in determining how the drive was put together. Therefore, for this project, several protypes have been 3D printed to determine that the best design was being carried forward. Once the design of the prototype was finalised, the drive was evaluated by physically measuring and analysing the movement of the drive while measuring key parameters such as backlash and torque output.

Another challenge for the project was material selection. There is a wide and ever-increasing array of 3D printable filaments, these filaments could be further evaluated and utilised in the design. Additionally, different digital fabrication processes could be utilised, including a combination of various processes which may allow for greater precision and strength. While the final reduction drive prototype was not perfect, there is certainly potential to develop the desired drive with further design and research. Overall, the final drive prototype provides a solid foundation to allow for rapid prototyping and further research.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Lobsey, Craig
Qualification: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Mechanical)
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2023 01:26
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2023 01:15
Uncontrolled Keywords: robotics, reduction drive, digital fabrication, low cost, torque, motor, electric, Archimedes drive, 3D printing, materials, prototype

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