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Asked — Edited

Raas Tweek Test Platform , Robotics As A Service

Hello all! I hope your having a great day. I have not documented any builds lately so am starting a thread for this one. This machine is intended to be a test platform for various components. One of the significant challenges this community and the manufacturing industry in general is supply chain drought. Parts are either hard to come by or suppliers will not find your needs a priority without a commitment to a large order.
I have a standing goal to create a RAAS program. Robots As A Service. Let’s face it. A good machine that performs a task well is going to be expensive. In this economic climate a company, municipality, or individual is hard pressed to commit to any technology right away. Purpose built machines that perform automated tasks simply need to prove themselves practically and demonstrate a financial advantage.

Machines like automatic robot lawn mowers are just gaining a foothold into markets. The models that are available even in the two to three thousand US dollar range may work on small scale for a customer, but the build quality is cheap and parts are toyish. This build focuses on quick assembly of machine chassis using extruded aluminum, T nuts and plate fasteners. In order to make sure that I can reliably reproduce a machine, the parts need to be readily available as I am not prepared to invest in large orders of any unproven parts in my applications.

When building this test chassis I will share some tips and strategies that allow one platform to use a variety of parts. As we go along, if a particular part does not meet the project need, I may make several changes to accommodate an alternate part for retesting.

Though aluminum extrusions make for quick builds, I do not feel they convey a polished product. Industrial settings are fine, but not customer facing equipment. So keep in mind boxy or naked frames are completely utilitarian and not the end product. I just need to find economical parts that are common enough that I will not need to wait weeks for shipping and also perform well.


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#1  
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a quick trip to Harbor Freight and Home Depot gets us some important parts to start building.

First, the 5/8 zinc coated steel threaded rod. The length is plenty more than needed so it will eventually be trimmed down. The wheels are two piece black powder coated steel with a generic turf safe rubber tire and 10 inner tube. One 5/8 nut on each side holds the wheels ball and grease bearing in place.
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#2  
I’m gonna be curious how you do the power train. This is gonna be good! I always struggle with power trains
#3   — Edited
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Here’s the motors I picked out and have in hand now. 
Three criteria I am using are;
1. robust durability by overbuilding

2. relatively inexpensive because the part is used in popular products

3. typically available on hand from suppliers

These are motors found in e bikes, scooters and a few other things.

These guys are rated at 250 watts, but I am thinking I will keep the system 12v which would be 168 watts at 14 amps.
#4  
Parts on the way in 48 hours

4.10/3.50 -4 knobby tires with heavy duty inner tube set x 4

5/8 cast iron pillow block bearings with set nut

5/8 lock washers

2020 black aluminum extrusions

2020 corner brackets

2020 side reinforcement plates

misc M5 screws and T nuts

4 x 68 tooth sprocket with #25 chain

#25 chain master links

chain breaker tool
#5  
After some research I am going to switch battery brand at type.  
The size is within the standard U1 casings. I intend on setting 4 of these in the frame for 24 volts and 70 AH capacity.  In this case I am building a robot around the needed parts instead of trying to shoe horn things together.

Vmax deep cycle agm high performance 

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#6   — Edited
Hi,

Robots As A Service (RaaS) interesting subject indeed

Robots-as-a-Service is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model and emerging as a new business model we use here now.

I read many interesting articles

The cloud robotics industry, which includes RaaS, was worth $3.3 billion in 2019 and could grow to $157.8 billion by 2030.

My wife is a engineer and worked at 3M for years, went to many large companies that have automation robots.
#7  
It's good to see you back on this forum and sharing your robot builds and ideas. I've always enjoyed and learned from your work.
#8  
This is very good to see. Finding the right parts for a build at a good cost is smart for any robot. I myself like going for the utilitarian direction with using framework parts like those of Servocity or SuperDroid for structure and large servos where needed. No flashy designs, at least not for now for the builds. Have a couple new ideas in mind. Looking forward to seeing more here.
#9   — Edited
@Robohappy , thank you for your comment. I have always been a fan of servo city and in some cases may use them for specific custom parts because that is part of their service. One of the goals here is to be self reliant as possible. servo City’s Actobotics line up has U- channel building materials and a compliment of accessory hardware to go with them. It is hard to find alternate sources for parts quickly in the even servo City is backlogged or god forbid they go out of business. They seem to be good people and I have shopped them a few times. So I’m the case these professional robotics projects need to have multiple avenues of getting replacement parts quickly. I have set a goal of sub two week time windows for ordering parts on new customer builds and replacements in the event I need a part not in hand.

@Dave , Hey thank you for the welcome back. I loved your B9 animation project, it turned out top notch! I think I owe my re-engagement into the community to the new marketing guy, ultimately you gotta be the change you want to see and not wait around for someone else to do it.

@EzAng Yes automated systems like robotics are gaining favor as rental options so new customers are trying out new systems as a lower risk investment. A subscription model is beneficial for both the robotics vender and the end users. As long you plan for upgrades over time instead of complete replacement or refurbishment over replacement, subscription models can be more profitable than a one time sale and the hope of a profitable maintenance contract or repeat sale in the future.
#10  
Some parts came in, the aggressive knobby tires. They smell really bad! The stench is like a combination of cigarette smoke and burning rubber. I am soaking them in hot water and dish soap to eliminate as much of the smell as possible.
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These are 4.10/3.50 -4 tires. They are just over 10 inches in diameter and are the same type, size and tread pattern of the tires on my Watch Dog robot.
#12   — Edited
@Dave The tires had a horrible super strong stench when I pulled them out of their plastic wrapping. So I am soaking them in warm water with plenty of dish soap that should remove loose particulate from the tires. I googled it and some other builders suggested this and then try water and vinegar solution if the smell persists. Since most the time this robot will be in doors as the tester, the wife would like it not to smell really bad!
#13  
Tiny update- after soaking the tires in dish soap about three days, you would not believe the green slime that came out of these tires. They smell much less now and after wiping them down the towel looks like green and yellow gunk. So anyone who gets some nasty smelly tires from China, 8 out of 10 would recommend! 

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You can see how dirty the water is and the rubber literally has a green slim that seeped out of it. Who knows what it is, but they are cleaner now.
#14  
Oh my. No telling what that is. I hope it's not harmful to get it on your skin or smell it.
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#15   — Edited

Quote:

after soaking the tires in dish soap
what were the tires made of?
#16  
Tires can be comprised of compounds with more than a dozen additives. Traditional tires are mostly Rubber, Carbon powder and fine silica with any number of additional ingredients or fillers.

Tires do not come with chemical safety sheets, though they probably should. I ordered these from Amazon because they are a common size and style. I did not know they would be China direct. My first set of this style were made by Carlisle Tire company and were clean and had the new tire smell ,but not an overly offensive order or coating. I think the manufacturer coated the tires with a preservative to keep them from dry rotting if they sat in a Amazon warehouse a couple years.
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#17  

Quote:

I did not know they would be China direct
seems to be a problem in many things
#18  
I have 10 more 800 mm long ( about 31 inches) 2020 aluminum extrusions on the way. I have ten on hand ,but I need 12 just to make a box.  Thank you again Amazon.
#19  
Considering my battery choices, I wanted to start framing some plans up before cutting any of the aluminum. I plan on using 2 U1 sized deep cycle batteries. So I mocked up the basics of the frame and limited the width to about 24 inches to make sure it could travel through a doorway without any trouble. I realized if I used the space above the tires I could fit a lot more in comfortably. It appears a 6 pack of batteries will fit. That's 3 in parallel to 24 volts and 35 amp hours each. 3 x 35 = 105 amp hours in 24 volt configuration. The batteries are 25 pounds each from Vmax power cells, but Iron Phosphate versions weight about 10 pounds each, so that's something to keep in mind for the future.

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I may also consider only doing a 2 or 4 pack and lower them to the first level. This means they will be right by the motors. I need to measure the largest version of my motors and see if that is practical.  It is late here, so maybe tomorrow.