Project Specification

Self-Constructing Rail System

A modular and self-assembling rail system made from standardized and 3D-printed parts.

Specifications

Design ToolArduino and Fusion 360 CAD
PartsScrewdriver module (3D-printed)
Robot arm (standardized)
Rail (3D-printed)
Cart (standardized)
RailsLength: 1-2 feet

Overview

This tech spec was submitted by Rupe Jesse as part of the University Technology Exposure Program.


Problem / Solution

Rails are an essential part of numerous industries since they are capable of moving materials, parts, and assemblies more efficiently by using guide rails. These incredibly effective rail systems have precision-machined construction for fluid flow. In addition to being lightweight, small, and having little friction, guide rails are also simple to install. The adaptability of the robots and rails may also make it possible to rely less on static infrastructures, which are costly to maintain and replace when they malfunction.

The inflexibility of rails is currently a disadvantage. There is no way to alter its routes or schedules to accommodate special requirements. Additionally, for light weights and short distances, railroads are not currently practical or cheap. Additionally, in terms of vibration resistance, it is comparatively weaker than the hard rail. Currently, rails cannot be protected against rust and corrosion since water contact during installation is inevitable and cannot be avoided. The carrying capacity of current linear rails is also poor.

The rails are envisioned to be a modular, dynamic, and self-assembling local transportation system. Although the concept of rail may appear to be nothing new, the way the principle is put into operation sets the system apart from others. All of the rail system's components have also been designed to be easily replaceable, standardized, affordable, and upgradable. With the rail system, a factory or other building can be built, changed, and updated quickly to deal with new problems or discoveries.

Design

The self-constructing rail system is made up of a screwdriver module, a robot arm, a rail, and a cart. It makes use of both specialized 3D-printed and prefabricated standard parts. The robotic arms will handle the 3-D printed rail by connecting it to a typical aluminum extrusion with a latching mechanism. The installed rails are 1 to 2 feet in length and have a gear mesh for the propulsion of robotic carts. The carts are standardized and are compatible with different tools such as robotic arms, panels, or transport modules. The design also incorporates a latching mechanism that may lift or lower rails, screw rails together, or hold carts or tools together. The robots are designed to have a good human-oriented interface that improves rather than replaces a worker's abilities to ensure that the design is adaptable to the current world. Additionally, in the future, humans will be able to direct the rails to where they self-assemble using a touchpad, computer, or augmented reality goggles. For emergency buildings, prototyping, or any other use where automation is inefficient, the rails can also be put in manually.

References

Wevolver 2022