End Effectors

End Effectors

There are two different classifications of end effectors: 

  1. Gripper – could be a mechanical or a non mechanical and used to grab and pick items.
  2. Tool – A tool is like a welding and the factor or a welding tool, or a painting tool or even a sanding tool.

There are a few types of grippers. 

There are robots that can pick things up with two fingers. There are two finger and three finger grippers. Two fingers can hold items while three fingers are used to manipulate items. It is much easier to grab an item with a three finger gripper. I wonder if I could effectively create a five finger gripper like a person has or perhaps other configurations. Theoretically, I could have more fingers on a gripper and I wonder how much utility I may get from increasing the number of fingers on a gripper. Vacuums or magnet end effectors are effective for picking and placing solid objects that don’t need to be manipulated. I plan to experiment with each different configuration of gripper to assess which are best for each application.

It is important to consider grip strength and how to grip items without breaking them. Seems to me that depending on how delicate the item is I may need to have a padding in the gripper finger to avoid breaking the item. Although padded it would still need to be firm enough to grip the item otherwise the item will slip out of the gripper.

As for tools there are a few types such as welding, painting, and maybe even construction tools such as hammer screw, etc.

Although it would be fun to create my own end effectors I’m more likely to scale my robot faster if I purchase them. Robot IQ is a good example of a company that sells end effectors. I saw recently that they were demonstrating their robot parts at a convention. Specifically they were demonstrating picking items a suction end effector and a wood sander.

If I end up building end effectors sometime in the future the mechanical grippers of a few different types seem to be driven by gears and would require buying a 3D printer; a project for later.

I also need to build a robotic arm if I want to manipulate anything which I’ll start designing in a separate post. 

The end effector required really depends on the application and in manufacturing oftentimes there are ones that will pick up an item on a conveyor belt and then move that item to another place or another conveyor belt where another robot with a different type of end effector will manipulate it or move it. Manufacturing is a really good application for robotics because items will always reside in one place and they can be easily retrieved and manipulated. Additionally, there is one narrow task that the robot must execute over and over again. There is no general intelligence or function with these robots so procedural programming can be used.

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