Building A Recycling Robot

Hi All:

We’re a group of Highschoolers looking to build a FRC (FIRST Robotics Competition) sized robot (34” L x 23.25 ”) designed to pick up trash from the sides of highways. We were doing some brainstorming and came up with a couple of questions we’d like to ask more experienced people.

  1. Thoughts on weatherproofing our electronics? It’ll need at the minimum to withstand extended use in the sun for hours on end, with a stretch goal of being able to operate in the rain.
  2. We were planning to use the FRC control system for a proof of concept due to our familiarity with it, but it isn’t ideal for our use case (it’s overly expensive and has too short range). Any recommendations on alternate control systems (it needs to be robust, have a relatively long range, and be able to handle vision inputs and display them onto the driver station)
  3. One of the things our mentor for this project wants is to be able to pick up trash from bushes (think paper bags on branches and such). He especially wants us to look into using multi jointed arms. We know that these are probably too difficult to manufacture and control, but industrial grade 6-axis arms are a little bit out of our price range at least for our first robot, and we only really need 4-axis arms, so are there any good industrial grade 4-axis arms that are less expensive than 6-axis arms.
  4. We want to put a powered intake on the end of our arm because using a claw would be very slow. Unfortunately, we haven’t figured out a good way to intake trash off a bush without also intaking parts of the bush. Any recommendations?

Thanks for your time!

Hey there ProjectPickUp,

Welcome on the forum!

Really interesting project.
My answer won’t be a definitive answer but more of an advice and I hope many other passionate will answer up.

1.Best way I know of weatherproofing electronics is to coat the PCB or by installing the electronics in waterproof casing. You may secure your sensors with a touch of silicone. Also, since this robot will be outside, make sure your proximity sensors won’t be affected by the UV ray of the sun. Exemple: some IR sensors can be affected by the sun.

2.I’m no expert in data communication but you may browse this section to give you any ideas:

3.Concerning the arm, I would recommend this one:

4.You may browse this section for more precise claw or gripper:

This is a really nice project and I hope you will post the result in the Robots section!
Good luck!

1 Like