Jeremy S. Cook

YouTuber “Absorber Of Light” had to make literally thousands of small aluminum pieces. Although this might sound fun to you, he’s not a fan of using a chop saw over and over, and after paying a meat-robot to do this task for a while, he decided to automate the process with an Arduino Uno and a pair of stepper motors.

The setup is quite simple electronics-wise, with the Arduino triggering a stepper through a driver board to push the aluminum using a threaded rod. A second stepper activates an H-bridge setup with a number of microswitches as a sort of physical relay setup. This prompts a linear actuator that controls the position of a chop saw, which actually cuts the aluminum in process. For user interface, a switch controls the reset button of the Arduino to start the process, and a second switch is available to cut off the motors. Another switch on a power strip serves to turn the whole assembly on and off when needed.

After this bit of processing, the cut pieces of aluminum can be drilled and tapped into a final product, making this cottage industry operation a bit more automated. Impressively, the setup can maintain a tolerance of plus or minus .002 inches.

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