13 Days To Zero-G: Gripper Assembly and Joint-Locker Functional Test

Quick note from tonight.

  • It turns out that I misread an email from yesterday and while the joint lockers arrived, the pads won’t be here till Monday. So we focused our efforts today on getting the rest of the Rev 2a Gripper Assembly put together and wired.
  • The Rev 2a Gripper Assembly, which I’ve shown before is basically half of the planned gripper assembly. Since I can hold it such that the plane of rotation of the joints is horizontal, gravity forces don’t impact the joint movement when the joints are unlocked, so we can at least partially test the concept in a 1g field.
  • The joint lockers showed up around noon, and AJ worked with me on getting the mechanical components assembled, and he fabricated some stand-ins for the actual pads out of drafting Mylar. Kirk helped me wire up the solenoid coils on the joint lockers.
  • Here’s the assembled test assembly near the test sphere:

    Rev 2a Gripper Hardware and Test Sphere
  • And here it is after releasing the joint lockers conformed to the test sphere:

    Rev-2A Gripper Conformed to Test Sphere
  • Here’s a quick video of the system demonstrating compliance to a stationary ball with minimal force requirements (and yes, the gratuitous sound effects are absolutely critical to proper operation of this system):

  • And here’s a video of the gripper dynamically conforming to the ball (yes this would be cooler with a high-speed camera):

  • We still have a lot of work to do, especially once the first rev pads arrive on Monday, but these preliminary tests give us hope of developing a simple gripper that can conform to target surfaces without requiring motorized joints.

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