We are Delta Force, a team of five Columbia mechanical engineering students who have worked tirelessly over the past year towards one goal: to design, fabricate, and optimize a high speed, high precision, and highly adaptable delta robot. A delta robot is an elegant three armed parallel robot that may traverse a full range of motion in cartesian space while maintaing the rotational orientation of its end effector. The geometry and structure of delta robots facilitates fast and accurate movement. As such, these robots find a great deal of use in 3D printers, laser guidance systems, and precision medical operations including extremely delicate eye and ear surgeries. However, the most popular use of delta robots is pick-and-place operations in packaging facilities, manufacturing assembly lines, and silicon-semiconductor wafer production processes.
Our robot was designed for maximum speed, and with two applications in mind. We aimed to create a delta robot that firstly, could play chess by picking and placing the pieces, and secondly could draw or scribe images onto a sheet of paper using either a laser, or a marker.
With those goals on their way to completion, it is our great pleasure to present to the world our delta robot, DF 1.0.
At the outset of our project, we performed an in-depth literature search on delta robots. We scoured domestic and international patent applications, academic journal articles, and other internet resources. We then reviewed our results, and compiled the pertinent information. For more information on the results of our literature search, click here.
We initially created a CAD model of DF1 using PTC Creo Parametric 3.0. During the design process, our model underwent hundreds of updates, and several complete reworks. The final version was then rebuilt from scratch in SOLIDWORKS to take advantage of its advanced sheet metal suite. For a more detailed discussion of our CAD process, click here.
During the design process, Delta Force performed a number of quantitative investigations in order to optimize our robot's design. These included geometry optimization, dynamic response analysis, finite element analysis (FEA), and force tests. We used the results of these tests to select dimensions, materials, and components. For a more information, click here.
Our Design Review II Report contains a summary of our entire design process, discussing the project's technical background, a number of considered design alternatives, our parameter selection & optimization, the design specifications & analysis, and finally a summary of the project's risks. To download a PDF copy of this report, click here.
Building our delta robot would not have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors, professors, lab staff, TAs, and our fellow students.
Jamison Bruch at MimixMotion for supplying the Delta Tau Geo Brick Controller and its accessories used with DF1.0, donating his custom spherical rod end assembly, and for sharing his wealth of knowledge with us during the design process.
EVS Metal, and in particular Joseph Amico, Scott Berkowitz, and Nathan Lee for graciously supplying us with sheet metal stock, bending, hardware, and powdercoating for the structural frame of the robot.
Paul Stegall for his assistance with motors, motor brakes, and wiring questions.
Bob Stark for his assistance with pressurized air and vacuum pumps.
Mohamed Haroun for sharing his machining expertise, and demonstrating how to make an aluminum spherical rod-end on the lathe.
Professor Longman for help with the art of tuning a parallel robot's control system.
Professor Vallancourt for helping us deduce why our power supply exploded.
Professor Stolfi, Mike, and Brian for their feedback and suggestions along the way.