Cut Countless Small Pieces of Aluminum with an Automated Chop Saw

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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Author: Jeremy S. Cook

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