Taubman College

Digital Fab Lab / 7-Axis Robot

The 7 axis Robotic Workcell is a large format 6 axis articulated robotic arm mounted on a 10 m linear axis. The robotic system serves as a flexible, reconfigurable, motion control platform. A variety of tools can be mounted to the arm, including a high speed router spindle and an abrasive waterjet cutting nozzle. In addition to machining processes, the arm can be reconfigured to perform assembly work using a gripper.

Programming Workflow

Robotic programming requires additional steps not found in typical CNC programming operations. There are two primary methods used to program this system. One uses the standard Mastercam X4 software, using 3-5 axis toolpaths. This is augmented by a plugin called Robotmaster, which converts the toolpath to robotic motion instructions, and simulates the toolpath on a 3d kinematic model of the TCAUP workcell. This offline simulation reduces the amount of physical testing needed to verify the program.

Dimensional Limitation

The Robotic system is composed of a Kuka KR100 HA L90 arm mounted on a K-1500-3 linear axis. The arm has a max reach of 2.8m and a max payload of 90 Kg. The linear axis has a 10m travel. This allows the system to move between workcells, allowing rapid conversion from one task to the next. Due to the complexity of the kinematics, there is no simple answer for how large a workpiece can be; in general is must fall within the maximum limits. The workcell is pre-configured with a 4'x8' cutting are for multiaxis waterjet and a 4'x8' cutting area for multiaxis routing.


In waterjet applications the robot can cut all metals and plastics, as well as rubber and wood. In routing applications, the robot is limited to wood and foam materials. In general, robots do not possess the necessary rigidity to perform heavy cuts compared to a gantry or bridge type router.


In general, use of the robot is limited to specific dedicated course taught in the fabrication lab. As the number of trained users increases, access to the machine will increase as well. The machine is only operated by trained Lab Assistants. If you have a job that requires the robot, email willetta@umich.edu to discuss the application.

Large robots schedule
Small robots schedule