Technology @ MCS



Syringe RobotP R O J E C T




A robot is a machine that can be programmed to perform a task. The word robot comes from the word robot in the Czechoslovakian language, which means slave-like work or forced work. Today, robots are primarily used in industry. Typically, robots are used to perform tasks that are dull, dirty, and/or dangerous. Robots increase production capability; improve product quality, and lower production costs. It is likely that very soon there will be almost totally unmanned factories. Perhaps just one or two people will program or monitor the computers and carry out routine maintenance to robots and other machines.

The robots used in industry usually consist of a mechanical arm controlled by a computer. The arm is jointed in one or more places and there is a "hand" at the end of the arm. The 'hand" is called an end effector. Each end effector is designed specifically for a particular job. Among the simplest jobs is "pick and place" where a robot may take something from one place and move it to another. Robots can do many different kinds of tasks but they still need humans to control them and give instructions. A robot is not intelligent by itself and can perform only those tasks for which it is given a set of instructions or program. Computers act as the robot's brain. But as we already know the computer is only as smart as the human operator.

The power for a robotic arm can either be electric, hydraulic, or pneumatic. Hydraulics is putting liquids under pressure while pneumatics is putting gases under pressure. The power supply acts like the robot's heart and muscles. It provides the energy for pushing, pulling, turning and lifting.

There are five types of robot arms commonly used in industry. The cylindrical movement moves in and out, up and down, and swivels round a vertical axis. The jointed arm has a joint at the waist, shoulder and elbow. The polar (or spherical) movement is like the cylindrical movement, but uses a pivoting vertical motion. Scara-type movement is similar to the jointed arm, but has joints in the horizontal rather than the vertical plane. Finally, rectangular movement can go up and down, from side to side and in and out.

In this activity, you will design, build, and program a simple pick and place robot that will solve a materials-handling problem.


You are an engineer at MCS Robotics, Inc. Your firm has been asked to design a material-handling system for a materials processing company. During the manufacturing process, parts need to be moved from one conveyor system to another by hand. Moving the parts by hand is boring and dangerous. The company has had to pay a lot of medical bills due to injuries caused by their current practice. Management feels that using a robot to move the parts, will free personnel for more important work, reduce accidents, and improve productivity.

Your department head has decided to instruct each of you to design and build a prototype robot. You will be working individually for this project; therefore you should not discuss any ideas with your fellow employees. Each of you will develop and present a proposal for solving this customer’s material-handling problem. Each proposal will be in the form of a working model, CAD prototype, bill of materials, and a program documenting the steps required to perform the task. The engineer who presents the best proposal will receive the contract, and will be rewarded with the highest grade.



1. The robot base can be no larger than 10" x 10".

2. You must use wood, metal, and plastic as part of your robot.

3. The robot must be operated hydraulically, using (3) 12 cc & (4) 30 ML syringe’s.

4. A layout of the customer work area and requirements is attached. (see fig. 1)

5. You are given no budget for this project, so it is up to you to find USED materials.

6. The customer will program a maximum 5-second pause in the conveyor system for you to pick up the part.  You will establish the interval between parts, keeping in mind that productivity is an issue.


1. The customer’s part is a 3/4” thick, X 3” Long X 2-1/2” wide block of red oak wood.

2. Review customer requirements and brainstorm idea’s for moving the part.

3. Construct the customer work area in CAD.

4. Begin sketching robot ideas. These sketches can be quick and simple ways of communicating your plan or design. Research & gather materials to use in your design.

5. After selecting and refining your best design, draw it neatly and accurately in CAD. Be sure to include enough detail to communicate your ideas & build the robot as planned.

6. Construct a bill of materials and have your department head sign-off on your design.

7. Construct your robot. You will not be allowed to deviate from your design at this time.

8. You must make a pendant box for the control valves.  This box must be self explanatory to the operator. It is recommended that you fill the syringe’s with colored water to simplify operation.

9. Write a detailed program for your robot that will move the part from point A to point B. When the program is completed, test it and make any necessary revisions. Your program must be written so that the robot can be operated by another person successfully.

10. Make final revisions to design and program.  Have your department head sign-off on your program.

11. Prepare a two to four minute class presentation of your proposal. The presentation should include a demonstration of your robot and program along with a description of any hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical, and electrical systems. All design team members must participate in the presentation.


1. The following are required:

- Robot Design Sketches/Drawing              20 pts

- Robot Creativity/Originality                       20 pts

- Robot Workmanship                                 20 pts

- Robot Program                                         20 pts

- Proposal Presentation                              20 pts

                                                     Total = 100 pts

2. In addition, winners of each of the following will receive additional points:

- Most Creative (as voted by class)             10 pts

- Best Built (as voted by class)                    10 pts