Step 1: Tools/Materials
Scroll saw (Any method to cut wood would work)
Hot Glue Gun
Reynolds Vacuum sealer
Futaba Servos (modified)
Gears - from old remote controlled car
12" latex balloon
Spindle - from hard drive
Controller - from Erector set
1/4 inch clear tubing
Loctite repair putty
Hot glue sticks
Wire mesh strainer
Step 2: Modify Servos
I wanted to use an old OOpic microcontroller to set up my servos, but I no longer have a compiler for it and cannot find one.
Step 3: Build Base
Build the vertical arm. Remove the plastic from the center of the gear by melting it with a soldering iron, note this is not safe. If you have a Dremel or a drill then use that to remove the plastic. The gear should fit onto the spindle from the hard drive. Attach the gear with Loctite epoxy putty. Let the putty cure overnight so that you have a good fit.
Now you need to attach a gear to the other servo. Take the other gear and remove the center with a 1/4th inch bit. Now remove the cross from the motor and use it to mark holes for where you will attach it to the servo. You will need two holes for each arm of the cross. Use a 1/8th inch bit to drill the holes. Then feed some wire in through the cross and the gear to attach the two. Then screw the cross back to the servo.
Take two smaller pieces of scrap wood and screwed them into the base to hold the servo that controls the horizontal motion. Then select some scrap wood so that the gear on the servo hits the gear on the hard drive. Attach the hard drive spindle to the base with nails. Use zip ties to keep pressure on the gears.
Finally drill four 1/8th inch holes into the top of the vertical arm. These are for the servo to be attached to. Attach the second servo to the top of the bamboo using steel wire and twisting it around the servo. Attach the bamboo to the base gear with a generous amount of epoxy putty. Let it cure for overnight.
Step 4: Build Arm
Step 5: Build Coffee Gripper
To fill the balloon with coffee you can use a spoon. You will want the balloon full, but not too tight. To get the balloon full you will need to fill the balloon up into the neck and then blow it up. The coffee in the neck will fall into the body. You can do this until the balloon is full.
Now place the hose into the neck of the balloon mesh end first. Secure it with a zip tie. Then use some hot glue to fill the neck. Finally twist the neck and place another zip tie.
Cut the neck off a ballon. Use this on the other end of the hose to attach it to the vacuum. Secure the neck in the same way you secured the coffee filled ballon.
Finally attach the hose and coffee filled balloon to the arm with zip ties.
How the gripper works: If you have ever bought coffee from the store packed in vacuum sealed bag you know that it is hard. Once you open the package it becomes loose. That same principle is at work here. The coffee acts like tiny little gears and when the air is taken out they lock into each other. This is what allows the gripper to work.
Step 6: Controlling the Arm
For the base servo attach the wire directly. For the horizontal arm attach a potentiometer between the leads. This allowed you to put enough current into the arm so that it would lift only enough to hold what it is picking up. You need that kind of find control or the servo will lift the item too quickly. You can use alligator clips to make the connections. If you want the item more permanent solder them.
Step 7: Problems and Solutions
This is a video of it not working well.