Automation of old mechanic machines using Fab Lab developed modular analog to digital control system
We describe the design and manufacturing process of an automation prototype for a workshop machine. We decided to augment and automate a Through Hole Plate machine in use, instead of buying a new one. To that end, we have built off-the-shelf modules that can be easily attached to the machine. The modules either augment the machine with new functionality, or utilize the actual mechanical actuators of the machine to automate desired tasks.The machine is in daily use and thus the automation development cannot interrupt its normal use. Hence, the whole automation structure is removable in a “add-on-top” manner. This makes it easier to replicate the automatisation in another machine without any further modification.We have always utilized Fab Lab processes and built easily fabricable mechanics to facilitate the replication at Fab Lab environment. Reusing old machine instead of buying a new one, and utilizing local resources support degrowth and urban resilience, as well as the circular economy.The prototype is built as a part of Academany Diploma Thesis, following the thesis pilot program structure and implementation. We believe that local and facilitated development of automated machines is a good way to modernize manufacturing with a low environmental impact.