So I had this bad boy doing its demo run, and man it draws attention. So I said it could stay if we can source an apple 2E and it looks like @ssaner and mark have something that will work. So I’m starting a robot arm megathread.
Some quick google snooping finds a teaching manual for it:
Looks like it internally uses a Z80. With 2K SRAM (Static ram! Wow (still is lost on power off, but it doesn’t require refresh cycles, as DRAM (aka pretty much everything since the early 1990s!)) and communicates very simply over an 8-bit parallel port to control the 6 unipolar stepper motors. Looks like it uses ascii over the parallel port to a kinda non-standard g-code.
If you hook up a Linux machine with a parallel port, zero it and do:
echo “M0,0,0,0,0,0” > /dev/lp0 (Move to 0 position)
echo “M250,0,0,0,0” > /dev/lp0 (Move 30 degrees cw for base)
echo “M-250,0,0,0,0” > /dev/lp0 (Move to -30 degrees ccw for base (60 degrees ccw from last, seems to be absolute only, and by steps, it’d be pretty easy to write a python Inverse Kinematic control script for it, if the above works. Or control it via wifi (esp32 or esp8266, with appropriate level shifters as it’s 5V))
If so all the rest of the commands should work. (Slight chance it would need to change the parameters, but they look very standard.)
It very much looks like it was intended to learn about particular cycles and interfacing to other things for industrial processes like an assembly line, with outputs (to pass along things like ready signals and such down the line) and interlocks (wait for the ready signal) available to other things, but with a very simple absolute positioning system, that could store locations and then go through the motions, or be constantly moved.
It’s probably too light for some thing people have proposed in the past. Like the Mig Welder 3D printer, with 500g capacity.
I do intend to hook up a raspberry pi to it but a few of us decided to do a true to life 80s desk for it complete with neon, big hair, and suspenders and an apple 2. So cuff those paint legs tight and put on your ferris buhler shades guys. We are gonna get it running like it was originally intended, then we will see about hooking it up to an ai to give tours of the ERP lab.
Use an Old Laser (or laser pointer disguised to look like an 80s laser) to point things out?
Ooooh! Very cool, the author of the software published it as well:
So I still need to order some neon and paint splatter graphics but the robot arm has a desk, a raspberry pi, keyboard and monitor.
Make it do stuff.
Her name is Judith (after Judith Love Cohen) play nice.