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Batch Control - Robot arms controlled by a NI DAQ

Batch Control - Robot arms controlled by a NI DAQ

Contact information:

Red River College,

Team Member: Matt Fryatt,

Faculty Advisor: Hassan Saberi, 

Project Information:

What was constructed was a batch control robot which was designed to pass a block of wood around. The robot was constructed from salvaged scrap that the college had stored away for a long time. My teacher wanted to see what could be developed from it so I was tasked with giving these robotic arms some life.

Products used:

- NI USB-6008 DAQ system 

- Basic LabVIEW 2009 student edition setup


- The hoses that made all the pneumatic parts active weren’t connected properly and were leaking air

- Some of the pneumatic fittings around the cylinders were broken

- The controlling pneumatic valve array didn’t function like it should

- The valve array required a switching voltage of 24 volts and the NI DAQ could only supply 5 volts

- A pneumatic arm was added to the robotic platform


- The hoses were replaced with new polyurethane tubing.

- The replacement fittings came from an old pneumatic chemical controller that was made in the 1950’s. A lot of them had parts that were the same metric size as the ones on the robot this is what also supplied the equipment needed to attach the 3rd arm.

- A supply of extra valve array parts were found in various shelves around the instrumentation lab that were forgotten about and I had modified them to give the robot arm movement. They required constant maintenance to make function again but with some WD40 and new seals, they worked smoothly again

- I had to design an array of MOSFET switching transistors so that the NI DAQ could switch them instead and then the MOSFET’s could channel 24 volts to the valve array.

- The 3rd arm was troublesome to attach but with the right attachment bolts, I was able to get it seated in the right position

Benefit of NI tools:

Ok for starters, LabVIEW is very simple to use, it took me only an hour and a half to get a complete 12 bit batch control sequence developed which could be modified at the users will with a simple INI file. NI had done some amazing work generating some top notch component help, so by following some examples in the software, it was a matter of copy and paste (plus connecting wires together) that allowed the program to become operational. As for the DAQ hardware, well let’s put it this way, I have never seen such easy to use hardware that is rugged and resource/driver conflict free before in my life! All I had to do is plug this NI USB-6008 module into my USB port, connect the digital outputs to a set of MOSFET transistors, and configure a test sequence in Measurement Studios and presto, in business.

Here is a video that shows robotic opperations, enjoy:

Hi, read more and learn more on my blog:


NI Employee (retired)

Hey Matt,

Thanks for your design project, the work on your blog looks amazing. If you can take a few minutes and answer the questions listed in the official LabVIEW Student Design Project Submission Template, that will make you eligible to win a trip to NIWeek or cash prizes from National Instruments.

Simply answer the following questions:

- Contact Information (University, Team Member(s), Faculty Advisors, Email Address)

- Project Information (short Description)

- Products Used (insert a list of NI hardware, software, modules, and toolkits used in project)

- The Challenge you are addressing with your project

- The Solution you came up with to address that challenge.

- A short explanation of the benefits gained using LabVIEW and NI tools

And, if you want to add any images, videos, or vi code, you are encouraged to do so as it helps tell a more complete story. Finally, don't forget to share your project URL with your peers and professors. If you collect the most "likes" for your project, you can win cash prizes from NI (your URL is:

Good luck to you,

Liz Savage in Austin, Texas


Cleared and moved above

NI Employee (retired)

You can add your LabVIEW VI code by clicking the "edit document" -- upload feature. You can see how others have been able to do this here: -- This is just one example.

Thanks - very cool application!


There you go, I submitted all the control files =]


Very creative as would be expected from Matt