What

Research leads to fantastic things. However, a large part of that research is a lot of repetitive, boring tasks that leaves lab associates doing the same thing for a mind-bending amount of hours. This sounds like something we can automate.

The pipette robot is a 1D Cartesian robot that allows researchers to measure out chemicals in precise amounts and distribute it to each test tube with just a click of a button (actual button pending in v 2.0). Things such as lipid extractions will be quick and simple to carry out and with minimal hassle for the lab associate.

How

The main chassis of the robot is 12 gauge steel cable and cardboard for support. The main actuators make use of rack gears in order to transform the turning movement of the motor into an up and down (or side to side) movement. The brain of the operation is run on an Arduino Uno which is supplied extra power from the dc auxiliary cable.

All the electronics were mounted on a breadboard which was then in turn, mounted on the chassis.

Challenges

The main plan was to make use of the 3D printers provided to print out the gears. At first, we sketched them up in blender but then realized that the export was a little buggy for the 3D printer. We then downloaded autodesk 123 and redid the gear sketch from scratch. Those gears did get printed, however, we later on realized that they were way too big for what we wanted to use them for.

In the end, we decided to make our own gears out of our leftover wood. This worked surprisingly well since we just eyeballed the measurements and cut them out with shaky hands using the dremel.

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