Looking for someone to design electronics for a piece of robotic equipment

I need to find a person or company capable of designing a machine similar to a cnc machine with 5 axis robot for spraying fiberglass into boat molds, does any one have a recommendation of who I can reach to start this project?

There are companies that sell arm robots that can do that type of task (spraying paint, filler, etc). I don’t have any experience with them offhand, but a quick google search find a number of companies that produce them. Probably best to contact some of them before starting to design one.

google robot arm sprayer

cnczone or the linuxcnc forum are better places to ask for this:

or, if you’d like an open-source machine-controller running under real-time linux:

I have some knowledge and interest in this kind of thing and I would love to take on this project if I was capable of a normal amount of concentration.

20 or so years ago I wrote custom software for an up to 8 axis CNC (lineair Bresenham interpolation), and the software worked quite well, but I never finished it, and I’ve now been overtaken by the GRBL program which is very similar to what I wrote, but has more features, and several nice front-ends for a PC such as bCNC.

I started a long time ago on an AVR uC, but recently compiled GRBL for an STM32 (Blue Pill) and did confirmed that it talks with bCNC and deliveres step and direction pulses with an oscilloscope.

An option with “more capable” hardware would be to use LinuxCNC with a Mesa FPGA card. With such a solution you also would not have to design custom electronics hardware.

Talking about hardware.
I’ve now designed the 2nd version of a home-built 3-axis CNC mill, but lack the concentration to finish the project properly. I’ve also designed an FreeCAD drawing of a 6-axis robot arm, designed to be made from plate material, and therefore cheap and scalable in size and the design is about 80% finished. As of now I’m not sure if I want to open-source the whole design, or if it has some commercial interest.

But what are you looking for in more detail?
Do you want someone who designs custom hardware, software, or both?

A good tip is probaby to contact Chris Annin. He designed the AR2, Open Sourced it and also sells kits. He may be interested in designing a robot arm with custom size and capabilities.

You can also search several crowdfunding sites for people who are selling a self designed robot. Those robots are usually small, but scaling them is for a big part throwing more money at more capable motors and motor drivers.

ROS (Robot Operating System) and ROS-Industrial (for robotic arms) are also starts for searches for more info / people. Those projects probably have their own forums.

Hackaday is also a good way to find people who have intest and knowledge in the robotics arm department. “robotarm” “robot arm” and “robotic arm” all deliver different results on hackaday.

I’ve also made a list of some 250 robot related links I found interesting in the last few years.
From motor drivers, to youtube movies, and complete projects.
robotarm.txt (22.2 KB)

A few fundamental questions that really determine if this is even viable to anyone:

How large is such a boat? Is it expected that this robot will simply build the same boat over and over for years or should it be easily configurable for different boats? (The later will make a robot inefficient so you might be better of using a human with minimum pay to be honest. There is a reason why composite material series production is quite hard to get right and still relies heavily on a human workforce.)

Oh and what do you mean by spraying fiberglas. I would assume you are meaning to spray the plastic part of it not the fibers as the fibers really need to be aligned correctly to get the strength one expects from that material.

Or is it the short fiber version where you basically use recycling material to get a bit more strength than the plastic alone. In which case spraying would be an option but i would guess getting the correct coverage will still be a challenge.

The question in that case would be where you see efficiency increase by using a robot. I can see it in the first case as one will want to have consistent application of the composite but with this recycle material you are basically only looking at price now. I wonder how many boats you would need to build till you get back the money of investing in a robot.

I imagine that “size” limitation is not a big issue. CNC machines with can reach over volumes by 20mx5mx2m are not very exceptional anymore, but that would still be a small boat.

Big aroplane hulls are getting made of increasingly more carbon composite. and they are made of “tube” like parts of 5m diameter.

I also do not agree that random fibre orientation would only

Adding 20% fibres with injection moulding is a significant increase in strength for plastics, and when spraying fiberglass, the fibre content is much higher.
Spraying a mixture of short fibres with a robot over a mould seems to be a common industrial process:

A symplistic thought would be that random fibre orientation would give about 50% of the strenght from the ideal fibre orientation, and that is only if strenght in only one direction is needed. If you need strength in more directions the difference will be smaller.

It would help to know what size and kind of system OP is thinking about.
I assume such a robot arm as found by the youtube search above, but for bigger systems such an arm is somtimes combined with an (over head) gantry system and size is mainly limited by the building it must fit in.

The youtube vid below is of machining an 1:1 boat deck model. It is not even of a particularly large CNC machine. I do find it a bit strange to make this though. It would seem more logical to machine the negative of this thing and then spray it with fibreglass from the inside, so the outside is smooth.

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