Let's Make Robots!

Grippers

Today I started to design a robot for a simple task of crushing aluminium pop/soda cans. 

 

An earlier non-robotic 'plan' involved a PVC (drain actually) pipe mounted as a 'handrail' on our basement stairwell, which one dropped the can into the tube and gravity whisked it away to a waiting bag at the bottom of the steps. 

 Well, we now have about 200 (no lie) cans that all need crushed and we need a plan to crush them with a minimal involvement as possible.  high capacity would be nice too.

 

So, I liked the pipe in the stairwell, and making a robot in the basement would be easy to do and keeps it out of noise way.  So, I'm looking to build an arm that swings 90-180 degrees on the wall that would turn left, take a can from the 'holder' at the end of the tube grab the can by the sides, take it to a holder on the left to drop it in, and then regrab it from teh ends, .... here comes the hard part.... and crush the can before taking it straight out and dropping it into a waiting bag.  

Right now, I'm only thinking, and thoughts are coming together.  However, I'm a bit stumped at the type of gripper/gripper assembly that I might need to accomplish this?  

Anyone have any thoughts?

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This sounds awesome!!!  I especially like the fact that you'll be dropping the cans through a tube.  Very cool high-techy futuristic type thing.

Well, considering the fact that cans are all the same size and in your case the arm will always be grabbing them from the same spot, that should make the arm and gripper much easier to do.  Not easy, but certainly easier than a design that would have to actually "see" the can.

However, I'm very very new to robot building so I'm probably not the best person to ask.  I'd imagine, though, that you won't need to give the arm an "elbow" since it's a fairly simple to get to 3 spots (tube, crusher, trash) if you put them all the same distance from the arm's main joint.

What about those long grabbers that people use to pick up trash?  That's a fairly simple design that you could either modify or take ideas from.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Green-Garbage-Grabber,-Trash-Tongs,-pick-up-tool/

http://www.janilink.com/index.php?cPath=656_1010&gclid=CMLxyZe_0JYCFQOIFQodEx9K3A