Meet Jake T.! He works with instructor Shawn as part of Game-U’s New York Accelerate program. While Jake loves learning how to make 3D models in the Blender modeling software, he’s also discovered engineering and robotics through Lego Mindstorms. With some help from fellow robotics student Micha, he built a functioning, mobile claw that picks up the studio’s recycling. See how he did it!
First, Jake designed a claw that opens and closes on motor power using Micha’s gear-and-screw mechanism, where the Lego vehicle’s motor drives a screw that, in turn, causes two interlocking gears to revolve. Because the bottom gear spins one way while the top gear spins the other, the mechanism controls both the upper and the lower arms, even though the “pick up” action of a claw requires them to move in opposite directions. The arms combine into a claw that can pick up any empty water bottles or other pieces of recycling that the robot finds around the studio!
Next, Jake developed his project further by building a vehicle that can support the claw and drive it to different sites. The vehicle needed enough weight and stability to not be overbalanced by the claw apparatus. It also needed a way for the operator to control the claw, so Jake added sensors on either side – one to lower and close the claw, and one to raise and open it. Together, the sensors combine with the vehicle mechanisms and the claw itself to pick an empty water bottle off the floor!
Cool work here, Jake! You created a good-looking, serviceable robot and impressed instructor Shawn with your flair for engineering. Thanks for sharing your project with us! As you dig deeper into robotics and 3D modeling, be sure to keep in touch. We’re excited to see all the things you learn!