17. Machine Design

Our assignment this week was to design a machine that includes mechanism+actuation+automation, build the mechanical parts and operate it manually, document the group project and my individual contribution.


In the beginning, we planned out what we would do and what machine we would make. We decided to make an automatic cupcake batter dispenser. We decided that we liked the concept of a pancake maker, but wanted to alter it to be a cupcake pan filler. The machine we would make would fill a cupcake pan with the correct amount of cupcake batter. I sketched out what the machine would look like, focusing on the gantry machine parts.

We ended up changing the dispenser part of the machine, but we kept the gantry parts. Then, Alex and I worked on designing and simulating the gantry in Fusion360. After we started briefly, Sophia told us it would work better with GRBL if we changed to a coreXY type of gantry system. So we redirected our attention towards redesigning the machine. I sketched a version out for us:

I started designing the middle gantry system, but this is as far as I got before Mr. Rudolph recommended that we stick with the original design. Based on my design, I made a simulation-type cad that included the two side gantries. The ends of the two gantries were approximate, since I would end up using Alex’s designs.

Alex designed what the side parts of the gantry machine will look like:

I started to work on the middle gantry that would hold the batter dispenser mechanism. It would be a 3.5”x3.5” platform with an extension on it:

The progress with the platform is this. We have the platfrom from the old CoreXY design, but it is easily editable.

The mechanism will push the handle to release batter.

After Alex finalized her gantry ends’ designs, I was able to fully design the simulation.

Here’s the fusion design file of the simulation: Simulation File

Group Documentation and More of What I Did

For the rest of the week, you can find the documentation here. I worked on some design elements (like platforms, the simulation, and small edits) and the assembly part of the process. Using the simulation I made, we were able to see what edits we had to make on all the parts. I also sawed and drilled some parts and holes that were needed to fit any parts (some of the gantry ends had to be sawed due to 3D printing shifting). I also put things together, including the gantries, belt. and collett systems. I also, along with Vincent, assembled the machine overall as well. Furthermore, I designed the acrylic bed of the machine– here are some sketches and design files images for it, as well as an image of parts being on the bed. We were able to orient the machine and prevent any movement because of it.

In the future, there are many directions this machine could go towards. It could be used to design cakes of different shapes on flat pans, allowing the user to create a sketch of the shape they want the cake to be.