The “Pallet Mover” is actually a plate that the conveyors move around, since it will handle unbalanced loads, it has “anti-tip” hooks to keep it from flipping over while its lifting a load, in the newer design, the hooks are underneath the plate
BC – Blind Cell – on the right
Work-pieces pass in and out through one face of the cube enclosure
The work-piece is set inside of the cube, usually attached to a fixture plate.
In the case of the mill, the robot and the lathe.
In the case of the 3D printer, the printer table sets in a cradle on the fixture plate and is lifted off by motion in the Z axis. (This keeps the “Loader” and end effectors consistent across all 4 machines)
Note: This worked out better than I expected, the table mates to the Z axis similar to the way removable forks on a forklift set on a bar, registration and repeatability have been more than acceptable..)
PT – Pass Through – on the left
Some cases cannot be addressed by a blind cell only solution
For instance, structural members for the cubes are 544mm long, and no machine designed to this point has a work envelope larger than about 220mm in any axis.
(Why 544mm? 3+25+544+25+3 = 600mm or Skin+Side Panel+Long Part+Side Panel+Skin…)
If the goal of recursion is to be met, there must be a method of cutting and accurizing parts that is unconstrained in at least one axis
In the case of a PT Cell this is achieved by allowing the work to “pass through” one or many cells, PT Cells will likely be fed from roller tables built up to their in and out feed ends.
They will still be adjacent to the pallet movers so that cells can be re-arranged by the standard automation, and short stock pieces can be retrieved for BC units.
The downside is that the basic chassis must have a variant with different side plates to leave an opening for this purpose, to be compatible with the components with the basic chassis, several designs were iterated through so that the same frame BOM would work for either case.
This will have power and data connections to the two adjacent cells. And will couple optically with adjacent conveyors, so that they can accurately synchronize belt speeds
An additional benefit of this design is that in some cases it will be desirable to have adjacent cells cooperatively perform actions: as in the case of one cell being a milling machine, and the adjacent cell being a tool cassette holding 20 or more tools, this could further be joined to a cell that “sets” tools and perhaps one that sharpens tools, making the overall set functionality equivalent to a high end VMC costing $100,000s. The first mill is NOT designed for this kind of flexibility, but the potential does exist.
I call these multi-cell functional blocks “Composite Machines” it will sometimes make sense to spread the functions across multiple cells, and sometimes it will make more sense to put all the functions in a bigger cell…
This will be a main type when chemical systems are put into the cube modules… 😉
The internal modules must also have the ability to allow work to pass through:
Leading to two types of mechanical module
Electrical modules are unchanged by this variant
One additional module may be needed:
A feed roller, which has not yet been drawn.