Robot to run a microphone on a 2D plane? (buy, make, purchase?)

  • Newbie here and a bit overwhelmed with cost and options.


    I'm looking for a simple robotic system that can run a microphone through a 2D plane. It's a microphone so we need minimal noise and vibration. The surface area to scan is approximately 3-4' x 3-4'. I want the ability to define the scan size and the scan rate for both x, y axis (the number of passes or the interval, gap). eg.g 20"x20" with 20 passes for each axis or 20"x20" with 1" gap (resolution).... ? ....(I'm trying to translate the idea as I have no idea of the correct terminology at this point)


    I'm thinking there are several types of robots that could perform this from a simple x,y system (plotter-like) to a multi-axis arm. I'm looking for something lower in cost to try some ideas. Does anyone know of a system that could do this? Do I have to build? Is there someone who can help? Software complexity?


    Any ideas and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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    • Helpful

    Many, many options available for this. Some may even be inexpensive.

    Search strings:

    • Cartesian robot or Cartesian actuator
    • XYZ Gantry or XYZ Gantry robot

    You need to define your maximum Z-axis height.

    Resolution is usually very high, but you need to define your needs.

    Motors used to drive the axes may cause noise problems depending upon your required traverse speeds.

  • what is the aim of this? what exactly you are trying to do? any robot will make some noise so... why move at all? one possible option is to simply use multiple microphones - no need for moving parts at all.knowing the big picture and intended use can dramatically affect solution. what are the space constraints? how about safety? is this something accessible to humans? if so robots will need guarding or some other means of safety. are you trying to sample sound at different points or recording is supposed to be continuous? how about cycle time? how about environment? clean and quiet lab room or rainy/snowy and very noisy intersection or railroad crossing?

    1) read pinned topic: READ FIRST...

    2) if you have an issue with robot, post question in the correct forum section... do NOT contact me directly

    3) read 1 and 2

  • What's the time requirements like? Is the intent to take noise measurement "on the fly," or come to a complete stop at each grid position? The latter would simplify things a great deal.


    A small/medium industrial robot would probably be the simplest way to get a motion envelope that large, although a simple cartesian XY stage (like a really large 3D printer) could be built from motors, linear rails, and drive belts or acme leadscrews. Either of those options is going to generate noise while in motion, however. If you can't afford the time to stop and deenergize motors at each measurement grid point, you may have to look into ways of physically isolating the microphone (some kind of vibration-damping attachment), as well as characterizing the audible noise generated by the "robot" and applying filtering.

  • The idea is to measure continuously while the microphone moves along a planned route within the 2D plane. Humans would be around and ideally, it should stop if it runs into any resistance. It doesn't need to carry much load/weight (just the microphone and cable) and it requires little force.


    More speed typically means more noise - so I'm not picky about speed. Precision - well anything within .1mm should be good enough. The initial use would be indoors. If things work out, it could be nice to take it somewhere even outdoors - but I suspect portability introduces a whole new set of complexities.

    I took TygerDawg recommendation and looked up the Cartesian style robot. I think this would work best. ZX robot is what I envision with linear motors. A vertical arm (index up or down) with a X arm to move in and out. Then there is the software to run it (hopefully something simple?)

    I just don't know where to find something like this that is cost affordable.

  • anything within 0.1mm? what is the part number of the microphone and what is the distance between ZX plane and the source of sound?


    i don't think one would measure anything different in the microphone position is moved only 0.1mm.

    1) read pinned topic: READ FIRST...

    2) if you have an issue with robot, post question in the correct forum section... do NOT contact me directly

    3) read 1 and 2

  • btw, if cost is a factor (and almost always is), why not make own 2-axis belt driven frame with two small motors and a tiny controller. this could be battery powered and made portable (fold too). just see what is done with 3D printers and CNC routers. it should easily beat cost for any robot.

    my guess is you are using some sort of computer to collect, store and process audio data. same computer could be used to program path and drive the two axes.

    1) read pinned topic: READ FIRST...

    2) if you have an issue with robot, post question in the correct forum section... do NOT contact me directly

    3) read 1 and 2

  • If you decide to not use a 6axis robot, keep in mind that you can always easily adjust a 6axis robots task, whereas a less axis robot will not be able to change orientation without more axis.


    If you, for example, want to use the robot later for different tasks that require the microphone to be directed toward different angles, then a 6axis can do that with ease.

    Edited 2 times, last by Eric ().

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