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Micromanipulator e.g. for use in a laboratory setting. For precision, see videos. Note that the motors are optional, it will work perfectly fine with manual knobs.
here is the casing for my battery-powered arduino-joystick control thing.
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Customizer variables allow to modify key variables, including X/Y/Z range or wall thickness (thick walls = more stability), and "sliding gap" - i.e. the gap between sliding parts - depending on your printer's precision, you may have to modify this parameter. Also, you can change it from metric (M3/4) to imperial by modifying the (hopefully self-explanatory) parameters in the source code (not in customizer, here I only list the most basic variables)
*design is heavily inspired by the Backyard brains "Searcher" manipulator by Timothy Marzullo (https://backyardbrains.com/products/micromanipulator).
UPDATE 2014 02 16:
Set up quick and dirty Arduino / Processing scripts for 3 axis control of the servos through Arduino-UNO, without shields. See 1st 2 new pictures and new download files (Arduino and Processing code + Motorizing instructions). Also, I elongated the knobs a bit so that the servos grasp them better, and made the servo mount screw holes a bit smaller so they screw in tighter - this is is the v19.scad / stl files.
UPDATE 2014 02 20:
Printed again on a better printer... still a tad wobbly but starting to get good precision. I uploaded some more videos taken under microscope (scale = 100 micron in the b/w movie). Also I updated the SCAD file to make knobs more stable, and changed the Arduino code servo address from byte precision to microsecond control mode (higher precision).
UPDATE 2014 02 26
Added to arduino code so that it understands the Arduino Joystick shield buttons etc. - "Servo4" arduino code. - it still works with the Processing script v3 if needed. This is the Arduino shield I used:
http://store.arduino.cc/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=37_38&products_id=126#.Uw5Z94X1zRg . Joystick moves X/Y, top/bottom buttons move Z. Calibration mode is on the left button and "Speed" on the right (hold to go fast, release to go slow)
For full instructions, please refer to the included "manipulator assembly instructions.pdf"
In short, you will need M4 screws for the axes, M3 screws for small stuff, and a bunch of M4 and M3 boats to hold it all together. In addition, you will need some grease, a dremel, and, optionally, some superglue (it works without as well). If you want to motorize it, the motor slots are designed for continuous rotation micro servos. You will need 3; 1 per axis (obviously). Note: make you they are "continuous rotation" (most servos only do 180 degrees).
Total cost (excluding the Arduino or similar to control motors) should be below 20 Euros for a motorised version, and below 5 Euros for manual.
See also "motorizing" instructions, added more recently.
Arduino + Joystick connections (using "Servo4" code):
1) Pullup D2-D6 using 10kOhm Resistors connected to +5V pin on Arduino. (Pull them up individually rather than using a single 10kOhm). I my version I do this beneath the shield so it is prettier.
2) Connect 9V battery + to Vin pin, and - to GND next to that. For elegance, you can do that under the joystick shield. If you want a switch in the circuit like I have added, break one of the 2 connections with the switch (probably the + one).
3) Connect XYZ motor control pins (i.e. the 3rd, non-power pin of each servo) to Arduino ports 11, 10, 9, respectively
4) Connect servo power pins to Arduino 5V and GND pins. Note that this particular solution is not great as it can fry the arduino, better draw the 5V from the battery stepped down to 5V (DON'T connect the motors directly to 9V, they almost certainly won't like it!)