Advanced Manufacturing

Manufacturing airplanes requires drilling many holes. This process is not always simple, and the use of force and awkward angles can lead to mechanics being injured. My group aims to reduce this issue by creating tools that mechanics can use to reduce or eliminate the need to apply direct force.

We are currently developing a prototype of a drilling cobot. We are primarily using a Dobot Magician controlled by an Arduino. Four electrical and computer engineers, myself included, are taking the lead on hardware and software development. Our prototype has two modes: positioning and drilling. While in positioning mode, the mechanic can adjust the robot arm using the joystick. Then, in drilling mode, the mechanic presses the trigger on the joystick and uses a slider to move the drill bit through the material.

A drawing of our robot arm drill and control box
Drawing of our current drilling cobot prototype

Our sister team is working on a virtual reality training program to help with implementation of our solution. This development process is similar to what another Advanced Manufacturing team, CognitiVE, is doing. Click the button below to learn more about my involvement with CognitiVE.

In addition, I recently went on a trip to Boeing’s facility in South Carolina to gather more information about drilling and other airplane manufacturing topics. Click the button below to see what my group learned from the trip and our resulting thoughts on how to move forward with this project.