robotsander.com | Brief Manual


Brief Manual of Operations for the Multifunctional Robot
for Processing Hardwood Floors

The purpose of this manual is to give a general concept of the robot’s structure and its use, and to add more information about the robot in addition to the video clip provided. Despite the complexity of the internal structure of the robot, using it can be extremely simple and easily mastered according to the enclosed manual.

Purpose of the device.

This multifunctional robot is meant for automatic sanding, varnishing and polishing of various hardwood floors. The robot is simple and safe in operation and does not require special knowledge and skills from its user. The actual robot consists of a main unit and actuating devices that can be connected to it: a sanding unit, a flat-sanding unit, a device for collecting dust, a varnishing device and a buffer unit. Each of them is designated for carrying out the job corresponding to its name. Connecting any of these devices is very simple and takes only a few seconds. A description of the robot’s components and usage is found below.

Main unit.

The main unit is the framework of the robot; it provides movement of any of the above-mentioned actuating units that are attached to it, and it provides them with energy (electricity and compressed air) and controls all their processes. The latter is carried out on the basis of the program entered by the user, and information obtained from the actuating mechanism by feedback. The main unit is guided in space by means of two laser measurers on its top surface. The main unit receives its electricity supply from the electric grid by means of a cable, on which light tension is provided by an auto rewind-payoff reel mountable on the main unit.

The main unit is arranged as follows. On its front wall, the actuating unit or the device is fastened to a mobile frame. Each time before the robot starts its motion, this frame moves from one extreme position to the other extreme counter-position. Thus, it moves the attached actuating mechanism respective to the main unit with the speed set in a program. At the end of the movement, the frame’s speed with the attached unit or the device decreases and at the same time, the speed of the main unit that started this movement increases. As a result, the speed of movement of the actuating mechanism respective to the floor is constant from the beginning of the cycle to its end, and corresponds to the speed set by its user before the beginning of work. On the top surface of the unit, there is a connector to which the wire bunch of the attached unit is joined. It is supplied with electricity and compressed air through it, and also receives operating signals and gives out feedback signals. There is a branch pipe on this surface that is used to connect the hose from the attached unit for dust extraction that is accumulated during the work. There is a branch pipe into which the tube with a filtering bag is inserted and the dust goes there through the vacuum cleaner that is situated in the main unit. During the varnishing cycle, this tube with the bag is removed from the branch pipe, and replaced with a platform that holds a bucket of varnish. There is a touch screen on this surface for entering a program of operation and obtaining information about the progress of the work, and the two above-mentioned laser measurers. Оn the back wall of the main unit, the above-mentioned rewind-payoff reel with a cable is installed before work begins.

Inside the main unit, there is a controller providing control of all processes, drivers that control all the engines according to the controller's commands, air valves that control the pneumatic cylinders according to the controller’s commands, a mini compressor providing the air system with compressed air, various converters of electrical energy, an accumulator and so on.

Sanding unit.

The sanding unit is designated for sanding the floor surface. In order to perform this job, it has to be attached to the mobile frame of the main unit with two latches and connected to an electrical connector and a dust-extraction hose. The sanding belt is pressed down to the floor surface during sanding by a cylinder. The amount of pressure is adjustable, and set before work begins by rotating the pressure control knob that is located on the top surface of this unit.

In order to change the sanding belt (if it is required) the following has to be done: open up the unit’s cover and push down the tightener lever. After taking out the old sanding belt and replacing it with the new one and having returned the tightener’s lever to its old position, close the cover. The sanding belt’s position sets automatically, and it is realigned automatically during the working process. If the belt shifts more than normal or it breaks, the unit will give out a signal to the controller, which will instantly stop work. After the problem is fixed, work can continue.

Flat-sanding unit.

The basic purpose of this unit is the elimination of unsanded edges along a room’s walls left by the sanding unit. The flat-sanding unit performs the sanding of these sites in auto mode providing ideal merging with the already-sanded surface. This is provided by the availability of a support roller that is rolled on the already-sanded surface. Thanks to it, the sanding belt does not touch the already-sanded surface, but only the unsanded surface. A spring-mounted holder with the aid of two latches attaches the flat-sanding unit to the main unit; an electrical connector and a dust-extraction hose are attached as well.

If the wall along which it is necessary to sand is not a straight line or if there is a need for sanding a very small area, for example a floor in a closet, work is performed by this unit but operated manually. For this purpose, the main unit can be placed in any place of a room, and the flat-sanding unit joins it by means of a long wire bunch combined with a hose that timely provide its supply of the electric energy and dust extraction. The switch that is located directly on this unit allows the unit to be turned on and off.

The flat-sanding unit can also be used either in automatic or in manual mode for the performance of the main job of sanding, instead of the sanding unit. It is necessary in cases when, for example, a hardwood flooring is laid so wood grains are located at different angles to each other. It is impermissible to sand such a surface by a regular sander or by a robot with the sanding unit. Nevertheless, the flat-sanding unit will perform this job perfectly, since its sanding surface is flat. In order to carry out the job, it is advisable to change the plate that presses down the sanding belt to the floor’s surface, and to lift the support wheel. It takes only a few seconds.

Also by means of the flat-sanding unit, it is possible to eliminate single minor defects on the sanded surface so as not to have to resand it completely. For this purpose, it is advisable to change the above-mentioned plate to another one, more dome-shaped, which also takes only a few seconds. Then, after placing the flat-sanding unit on the defect that is subject to removal, turn it on for 3-5 seconds. The defect will be eliminated.

In order to change the sanding belt on the flat-sanding unit the following has to be done: open up the cover and press on the tightener lever. Loosen the belt, change it for a new one, and after returning the lever to its old position, close the cover. The sanding belt’s position sets automatically, and it is realigned automatically during the working process. If the belt shifts more than normal or it breaks, the unit will give out a signal to the controller, which will instantly stop work. After the problem is fixed, work can continue.

Dust extraction device.

The dust extraction device is designed to clean the floor surface to eliminate dust, abrasive particles, and other contaminants before varnish or paint is laid on the floor. It is connected to the main unit by latches. The device’s hose connects to the branch pipe of the dust extraction device on the main unit.

Varnishing device.

The varnishing device is designed for lacquering or painting the floor’s surface. For this purpose, it connects to the main unit with latches. Then the branch pipe with the filter bag is removed and replaced with a platform that holds a bucket of varnish or paint. The regular hose connector is changed for the hose connector with the branch pipe to which a hose from the varnishing device is connected. Then we enter programming mode and press the icon “Start” on the screen. The robot will then, after completing the varnishing/painting of most of the floor without making a turn, stop at some distance from the opposite wall. After disconnecting the varnishing device and removing the robot from the room, it will be possible to finish the job “manually” with the aid of a bar.

Buffing unit.

The buffer unit is designated to polish a varnish-and-paint layer after it is completely dry. It is to be done to remove wood grains that rise under impact of the varnish (paint). It is connected to the main unit with latches and a loop and a dust-extraction hose are also connected.

General operating procedures.

The walls in a room whose floor is subject to processing (represented on the drawing below) are conventionally called as follows:
1. Base wall - the wall parallel to which the robot is set up before the work and is guided by it during its work.
2. Final wall - opposite to the base wall. The robot approaches it during the process of work after each trip. Near the final wall, it makes its last trip and stops.
3. Frontal wall - perpendicular to the base wall, towards which the robot is moving during its first trip. Near this wall, it makes a turn.
4. Back wall - wall away from which the robot begins the movement at the onset of its work, it is parallel to the frontal wall.

Also, there is a concept called “control coordinate” meaning the calculated distance from the base wall at any given time period. The distance is calculated by the robot’s controller in accordance with the “step” size (departure value after each trip) entered by the user during programming. The “control coordinate” at the given moment, and the number of “steps” which remain until the work is complete, are constantly shown on the robot’s display.

The operator decides which one of the walls to select as a “base”. Our robot is guided by it with the aid of two laser measurers located on the main unit. These measurers measure the distance from the wall twice in one second, and transmit data to the controller. The latter, in light of this data and comparing it with the “control coordinate” available at present, operates the robot’s wheels so that the robot moving parallel to this wall holds its course parallel to it, and also maintains the required distance from it.

At the first trip, the robot moves from the “back” wall to the “frontal” wall performing the sanding simultaneously. Having reached the “frontal” wall, our robot stops and moves away from the “base” towards the “final” wall at the distance of preset “step”, then moves in opposite direction that is from the “frontal” wall to the “back” one performing the sanding simultaneously. Having reached the “back” wall, the robot stops again, and after moving away at the distance of the preset “step” from the “base” to the “final” wall, it makes another movement with the simultaneous sanding. Thus, our robot performs the sanding of the floor’s surface until it arrives at the “U-turn coordinate”. The user indicates this coordinate during programming.

Having arrived at the “U-turn coordinate” and having reached the “frontal” wall, the robot moves away from it on some distance and performs a U-turn. Then, having set the unit attached to it in a position necessary for further work and having come back to the “frontal” wall, the robot continues work performance on the entered algorithm until the work’s full completion. Having finished the job, the robot stops near the “final” wall and waits for further directions.

Preparation of the robot for work performance.

The most complete entering of all data is required when performing sanding of a room by the sanding unit (for example, for edging, step insertion, turn coordinate, and trip quantity, are not required. For manual sanding by the edger, nothing needs to be entered, since in this case the main unit is used only as a source of electric energy and compressed air supply). Therefore, let us consider the case when the robot is used for sanding, i.e. represents the main unit with the sanding unit attached to it.

Having placed the robot at a starting position, as shown at the picture above (though it is possible to put in any other place), and having plugged it in, it is necessary to turn on the general switch. At that “Programming”, “Manual operate” and “Service” will appear on a display. These words mean the possibility of choice: “Programming” - entering of characteristics to perform future job in automatic mode, specifically: width of a room, which is subject to a processing; value of the displacement after each trip (step); distance from the base wall to the place of a turn (turn coordinate); number of steps before a stop for service; speed of robot’s movement at job performance; “Manual operate” - provides entering of a minimal amount of characteristics with the subsequent command issuing to perform any specific problem, for example to make a trip with sanding, or move to a different spot without sanding and so on; “Service” - entry into this option is intended mainly for technical staff carrying out service or repair for the purpose of checking the performance of separate elements, for example engines, pneumatic cylinders, sensors, or for modification of performance of а robot control system.

In the given manual, let us consider only its main function – performance in an automatic mode. For this purpose we press on the icon “Programming”. On the display there will be a chart showing to what extent the case of the robot is not parallel to the wall. First of all, it is necessary to physically move it into a position where it is parallel to the wall. When it is reached, on the display there will be an icon “Next”. We press on it.

The text “Cross distance” appears on the screen. The robot measures the distance to the opposite wall, calculates a value necessary for the transversal (respective to the room) movement, and will show it on the display. By pressing the icon “Next”, which appears on the screen, there will be an opportunity to change this value. This might be necessary, if for example, there is a ledge at the opposite wall, and in this case, it is advisable to decrease a digital value by this ledge’s size. In this case, our robot will complete its job and will stop having performed the last trip in the close proximity of the ledge. If the “final” wall is even and parallel to the “base”, no changes should be entered. We press on the icon “Next”.

“Step size” is on display. We enter the value of the “step” and press “Next”.

“Distance for U-turn” is on display, as well as the value of a minimally necessary “turn coordinate”. Having changed this coordinate or left it unchanged, we press the icon “Next”.

“Steps for service” is on display. This is a number of trips before a stop for service, necessary for replacement of a sanding belt and cleaning of a filter bag from the accumulated dust that can be necessary when processing very big rooms. If no data is entered, there will not be any stops for service. If even number of steps are entered, stops for service will happen by the “back” wall, if the odd ones – by the “frontal”. We press the icon “Next”.

“Working speed” is on display. We enter the desirable working speed (there are 6 of them) and press the icon “Next”.

“Start” icon is on display. By pressing it the robot will start performing work us described above and having finished it will stop at the opposite wall. During work, there will be a constantly available control coordinate on the display for the given moment and the number of steps until the job is completed. If in the course of work occurs some irregularity, for example, an electric power outage, or breakage of a sanding belt, or a deviation from coordinates and so on, our robot will stop. The display will show the reason for the stop and an icon “Continue” that should be pressed after eliminating the problem, and the robot will continue working.

It should be noted that at entering characteristics the icon “Return” is always on the screen so that that is there is a possibility to go back if desired.

Transportation of robot.

For the robot’s transportation, there is a special moving box on four wheels providing its easy movement and mobility. The dimensions of the container (width - 27”, length - 33” and height - 27”) allow it to pass in any doorframe and fit in elevators. Despite its compactness, it contains all the needed equipment: the main unit, sanding unit, flat-sanding unit and buffer unit. In order to roll them in easily the front side of the moving box drops down. For this operation, the front wall that is fastened on the hinges together with two wheels attached to it is lifted. After the equipment is placed in the moving box, this side lifts under the influence of a lever to support pins, and the wall closes. Then the support pins are taken away and the container is placed on wheels. In order to remove the equipment these procedures are performed in reverse order.

On top of the moving box, there is an easily removable service box intended for the required work, containing a variety of materials such as an extension cord, sanding belts, bucket of lacquer and others.