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Tesla Model S and Ford Model T factories – 3D printed and Arduino controlled!

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Chris writes

My daughter and I spent the day working on her history project: “The Assembly Line: Then and Now”. It’s a big poster-board presentation comparing the manual assembly line of the 1912 Ford Model T with the robotic assembly line of the 2012 Tesla Model S (we visited the factory last year).

At left below is one part of it, a working model of one of Tesla’s KUKA robotic arms. We hacked an OWI toy robotic arm for full closed-loop autonomous control with an Arduino board and sensors added to each joint. And we designed and 3D printed the carrier frame (the green parts) on our Makerbot. The little Model S body is one that we watched them injection mold at the Tesla plant while we were there.

At the right is our model of Ford’s Highland Park Model T factory, at the same scale. Fun fact – we couldn’t find any good 3 3/4″ worker figures, so those are actually the only passable figures we could find: Dexter the serial killer from the TV show, minus the knife and bag of body parts that came in the box 😉


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