Want to build a gripper apparatus that can pick up 12 objects simultaneously ?

This device is meant to make product loading more efficient. Products comes in groups of 12 and I want to be able to pick them up together rather than one by one.

The products are tall, cylindrical shape and weighs 20 grams. Diameter is around 1 inch and height is 8 inches. The outer shell is made of ABS perhaps 2mm thick.

I tried to think of a way to design such a gripper apparatus mechanically with not much luck, so I’m thinking about using servo or stepper motors. Since I’m pretty familiar with the 28byj48 stepper and drivers, I can use 12 of them to activate 12 grippers. A single Arduino can signal all 12 steppers to move in sync. Two questions I have is:

  1. What’s the best way to power all 12 steppers since they’ll require a separate power source than the Arduino.

  2. I don’t want the gripping strength to be so powerful that it damages the product. I guess I can coat the gripper with rubber. I can either incorporate a spring mechanism to limit the gripping force, or I can just let the steppers stall when the product is gripped. I prefer the latter since the design is simpler, but will it damage the motor? I don’t think the stepper is strong enough to break the product…

Please advise. Especially if there is an easier way to do this.

Thanks

submitted by /u/engineheat
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