Hardware and software design and system integration for an intelligent precision jigging robot (IPJR), which allows high precision assembly using commodity parts and low-precision bonding, is described. Preliminary 2D experiments that are motivated by the problem of assembling space telescope optical benches and very large manipulators on orbit using inexpensive, stock hardware and low-precision welding are also described. An IPJR is a robot that acts as the precise “jigging”, holding parts of a local structure assembly site in place, while an external low precision assembly agent cuts and welds members. The prototype presented in this paper allows an assembly agent (for this prototype, a human using only low precision tools), to assemble a 2D truss made of wooden dowels to a precision on the order of millimeters over a span on the order of meters. The analysis of the assembly error and the results of building a square structure and a ring structure are discussed. Options for future work, to extend the IPJR paradigm to building in 3D structures at micron precision are also summarized.
Robotic assembly Autonomous robots Precision manipulation Space robotics Distributed robots