The robot arena now stands in the lab where our robot arms can do instrumented experiments with precision, vibration-free. After analyzing the workspace of our robots in 2d, then 3d, I decided on mounting locations to enable bi-manual manipulation or manipulation off the table top. The Robot Arena has grids of mounting holes on the walls and table top for adjusting solitary robot position as well as a (very stiff) 45 degree wedge for changing workspace angle. It also has a space designed for housing the robot controllers so it can be used as an integrated workstation.
This was my first major experience in outsourcing assemblies for manufacture. From scale drawings and CAD, I generated the necessary mechanical drawing package and worked with the manufacturers to have the table fabricated. Although, with the prevalence of digital manufacture, I’m fairly certain they mostly used the DXFs and assembly drawings I supplied. The part drawings were a useful exercise for me and probably served as good verification pieces as well. Being nearly 9,000 lbs, it was also my first major logistic challenge I faced in the lab. Since then, coordinating with the shipping dock, logistics companies and riggers has become one of my core competencies.
When I first came to the MCube lab, the two (small) industrial robots we had were mounted to a wooden table that swayed when the robots moved. When Alberto, our PI, started the lab he envisioned what we call “The Robot Arena” where robots can be mounted in multiple different collaborative or solitary configurations . While designed to mount robots, it was also designed to be instrumented with modular experimental set-ups and VICON cameras for tracking objects in 3d space.