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I would really like a six-axis force/torque sensor for my robot, but I just can't afford one. I was thinking about making one of my own.

I have experience using strain gauges, but I can't work out how to arrange them so as to create a six-axis force/torque sensor.

  • Is this something I could feasibly make myself?
  • How do they work? What is the theory behind them?

I'm curious to know how they work, even if it's not feasible to make one myself.


Added:

Just to be clear, I'm talking about force / torque sensors, like this ATI Nano 17:

ATI Nano

I am not talking about accelerometers or gyros, or MEMS IMUs.

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  • $\begingroup$ Are you asking about a six axis force sensor for use as an intertial measurement unit (accelerometer & gyroscope)? Or something else? $\endgroup$ – kaliatech Nov 1 '12 at 2:36
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I don't think its entirely impossible to build something like this, especially if you already have some experience with strain gauges. I think the most common way is to arrange the sensor in a Stewart Configuration. There are a lot of articles on this, e.g. "Closed-form force sensing of a 6-axis force transducer based on the Stewart platform".

A similar Sensor from Schunk FT Nano says in the datasheet:

Monolithic element with three measuring phases with an angle of 120°. Each phase has two semiconductor strain measuring bridges which record deformation in the micrometer range.

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  • $\begingroup$ Interesting, but is this actually what's inside something like the ATI Nano 17 ? $\endgroup$ – Rocketmagnet Nov 1 '12 at 17:55

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