P19603: Rod Feeding Mechanism

Subsystem Build & Test

Table of Contents

Team Vision for Subsystem Level Build & Test Phase



Manufacturing Update

Parts manufactured:

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Items to be Machined:

Items to be Printed:

Purchasing and Budget Update

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Items purchased this phase

Items that may need to be purchased (pending testing)

Subsystems Demo

Electrical subassembly

Video of electronics test: https://youtu.be/-YHNFS9sLuY


Light Tower

RS 422 (Command Signal)

Currently unable to communicate with level sensor via RS-422 digital output, meeting with Professor Barrios to see if this is still possible. Tested analog output from level sensor to measure changes in distance. A change in voltage was measured due to movement of the sensor, and the Arduino was successfully able to read this change.


Photogates were first tested individually on breadboards to confirm that the voltage change from shining the LED on them would be suitable for use with the Arduino. The photogates were then tested with the Arduino, with the Arduino reading the output voltage from the sensor. This test was successful.



Hopper subassembly

We decided not to use ANSYS modeling to find the natural frequency and instead used a variable power supply to allow us to change the agitator frequency and then empirically tested to find the frequency that worked. The optimal frequency corresponded to a motor input voltage of about ~7.9V.

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Video of test: https://youtu.be/DtCgfAm52XE

A behavior we noticed is that, when the hopper occasionally gets stuck, "pulsing" the motor to a high frequency for about a second and then returning to optimal fixes this problem nearly immediately every time it was tried. Therefore we are going to incorporate new functionality in the design to do this. The plan is to have two relays going to the agitator, one at 8V and the other at 12V. The 8V will run until the sensor detects its stuck, then it will switch to the 12V for a moment and then switch back.

Feeder Subassembly

To test the feeder subassembly we ran the stepper motor at a constant speed and analyzed the travel path of the rod through the feed block.

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Video of "No Shim" Test: https://youtu.be/0DFYmLd_-SM

Video of "1/8 Shim Test : https://youtu.be/ib5neuDmT1k

Video of "1/16 Shim Test: https://youtu.be/GvQxtGsNdJA


these tests we recorded after we replaced the springs with weaker springs.

Through testing we found that the motor struggled to push the rod through the feed block. We observed that this was caused by several things,


Mounting Subassembly

Our main concern was if the Mounting Subassembly would fit in the Vader System without interfering with the operation of the Vader. We tested by placing the Mounting Subassembly in the Vader and it fit sufficiently.

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Angle Feed Decision

Based on the results from testing the feed block, we have decided that the angled-feed is not feasible and are moving forward without it.

Our reasons:

Impact on this project:

Test Results Summary

Based on the results from testing:

Imagine RIT and Tech paper

We have signed up for Imagine RIT and are in the process of filling out exhibit info.

Poster will begin work next phase.

The technical paper has been started, James will spearhead the writing.

Risk and Problem Tracking



Problem Tracking:

No problems have presented themselves as of yet. When they do, we will use the process outlined in Phase 1.

Planning Update

MSD 2 Overview:
High Level Overview of MSD 2

High Level Overview of MSD 2

Phase 3 Plan:



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