Monday, March 12, 2007

Robotics Monday: Knitting Machine

Name of Model: Knitting Machine
Created by: Thomas Johnson
Found at:
LEGO Knitting Machine ThumbnailAt this point, it's no real secret that most robots and machines made out of LEGO parts rely on the handful of robotics sets that LEGO has released over the years. Because of that, it always comes as a surprise when someone builds a truly exciting robot using nothing but a battery box and some traditional mechanics. That's right - you can make awesome LEGO machines and "robots" of sorts without doing any programming. Of course, the specialized mechanical work can be just as difficult as programming a robot. It's a bit of an art to work out a machine that works more like an old-fashioned automaton, and it can be very difficult to make a sequence of actions occur from just one motor's output. It can also be rather difficult to make LEGO parts work with other materials. Special grips often need to be worked out to make things work "just right".

Naturally, then, a knitting LEGO robot based on an old battery box is a truly magnificent thing to behold. A single motor is powered by the battery box, and arms that maneuver properly to knit are powered by chains and gears eminating from the motor. The cycles of various worm gear configurations are timed perfectly to give the arms a fluid motion and keep the yarn from falling. The whole operation is fascinating, but seems (to me) to be fairly easy to understand if you watch the video first and then look at the pictures.

Since yarn is obviously needed for any knitting machine, this doesn't really count as cheating.

No comments: