Designing and construction of a mechanical electrode arm for

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Fabrication of thin films using electrodeposition requires different times ranging from minutes to hours and sometimes even days depending on the thickness, the number of layers and the composition of the layered structures. An automated deposition mechanism helps such growth processes reducing the human involvement thus saving the time and money. This paper discusses the construction of such an automated mechanical device that can be used to fabricate multilayer thin films electrochemically using the multiple bath technique. It simply functions as a robot. The constructed robot is not really much faster than humans, but it is good at simply doing the same job over and over again.

This work reports the design and construction of an automated device to fabricate multilayer thin films using electrodeposition technique. Deposition of such films takes times ranging from minute to hours. This device has been constructed in such a way that it can be used in such cases. The constructed mechanical device works as a robot consisting of two degrees of freedom enabling it to move in a Cartesian workspace. A microcontroller was employed for regulating all on-board operations and a stepper motor driver circuit controlled the two stepper motors. The device that has vertical and horizontal spans of approximately 0.12 m and 0.30 m respectively can be used for deposition times of seconds to days using multiple baths. With further modifications, the device can be developed as a commercial product.

The constructed robot consists of a manipulator, an end effecter controlling unit and a power unit. Manipulator is the mechanical unit that provides motions similar to that of a human arm. The individual joint motions are referred to as degrees of freedom and each axis is equal to one degree of freedom. End effector is the device that is mechanically opened and closed, as a part of the manipulator. Mechanical grippers are the most commonly used end effectors and they are equipped with two or more fingers. The function of the power unit is to provide and regulate energy that is required for the robot to be operated. The controller device initiates, terminates and coordinates the motions and their sequence. It accepts necessary inputs to the robot and provides the output driven signals to controlling motors or actuator to correspond with the robot movement and the outside world. Robots are classified [1] according to their “Arm geometry”,” Degrees of freedom”, “Power source”, “Path control” and ”Intelligent level”. The constructed robot has two degrees of freedom and it operates in Cartesian work space. The robot has been used to function totally by means of electrical power.

Undergraduate Project


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