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Hey! This thing is still a Work in Progress. Files, instructions, and other stuff might change!

Perler Bead Robot

by scanlime, published

Perler Bead Robot by scanlime Mar 25, 2011

Description

This is very much a work in progress.

The goal of this project is to create a robot which can "print" designs with Perler Beads automatically. The raw material would be multicolored unsorted Perler beads. The robot would accept a bitmap image with some pixel art you'd like to recreate in Perler beads. It would automatically sort the beads and place them on a grid, ready to iron.

So far...

I have a blog post explaining some of my ideas so far:
scanlime.org/2011/02/perler-bead-robot-ideas/

And another post about the color sensor I plan to use:
scanlime.org/2011/02/trying-out-the-avago-adjd-s371-q999-color-sensor/

A video of the vibrating funnel in action:
flickr.com/photos/micahdowty/5407791891/in/set-72157625540465089/

The design comes in several "layers" which stack vertically with standard M4 hardware. First there is a hopper for the raw unsorted beads, then a vibrating funnel which extracts the beads in single-file. Next, a sorter which includes a color sensor, and a servo-driven disc which shuttles the beads back and forth at the right time. This will sit above some kind of X-Y table, which can be rather simple given the low precision requirements.

Currently the first two layers, the hopper and the vibrating funnel, are mostly done. The sorter is more of a sketch than a final design at this point, and it will probably change significantly.

Recent Comments

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Do you have editable CAD files for these parts that you would be willing to share. I am looking to do something similar but I need to modify it some
some larger copiers have toner cartridges shaped like a long tube with a spiral formed on the inside. When it uses the toner, it rotates the cartridge so the toner gets pushed toward the opening. If you could get one of those and cleaned it, you could feed a whole container of perler beads into the robot in one go.
Nice work! I wouldn't have guessed such a tiny vibrational parts feeder would do anything except rattle around and spill stuff. But that video clearly shows it feeds the beads!

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Do you have editable CAD files for these parts that you would be willing to share. I am looking to do something similar but I need to modify it some
some larger copiers have toner cartridges shaped like a long tube with a spiral formed on the inside. When it uses the toner, it rotates the cartridge so the toner gets pushed toward the opening. If you could get one of those and cleaned it, you could feed a whole container of perler beads into the robot in one go.
Nice work! I wouldn't have guessed such a tiny vibrational parts feeder would do anything except rattle around and spill stuff. But that video clearly shows it feeds the beads!
This is really cool. I like the details of this mechanism, as well as the broader idea of the project. You might consider having the beads go up instead of down, which is how vibration feeders often work. See for example thingiverse.com/thing:7276
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