The Rubik's Shrine

Maxim Tsoy and Wilbert Swinkels - felt that it was only the beginning when their project FAC Solver had gathered 120K+ views on YouTube. So they came up with another 3-gripper machine - the Rubik’s Shrine. 

Originally, the idea of building a cube solver belongs to Wilbert. Being an experienced modular system enthusiast, he was looking for a project to combine mechanical engineering with robotics. Inspired by JP Brown’s Lego cube solver from 2001 (the only one well-known back in those days), he decided in the summer of 2009 to make an equivalent in another modular system, called the FAC system.  It took him 6 years, before he met someone who was able to write the software for the machine, and it was Maxim. In summer 2015, after joining forces, inventors finished the FAC Solver. However, they were sure that they could do better. They wanted to make something more technically advanced and visually attractive. Thus, the Meccano Rubik's Shrine was created. By choosing this name, Maxim and Wilbert put a symbolic meaning to the project and paid a tribute to Ernő Rubik and his creation.



The basic setup of the machine has 3 identical grippers, mounted on a rigid frame. Each gripper is driven by 2 steppermotors. One steppermotor actuates the satellite to which an armdevice is mounted, capable of grabbing a cube. The other steppermotor actuates the wormgear for opening and closing the armdevice. Around the bottom gripper a positioning table has been designed, which can be lowered once the cube is grabbed by the 3 grippers.



Since their last creation, Maxim and Wilbert gained a lot of experience and managed to improve many technical aspects. While the concept was not changed (it is still a 3-gripper solver), change from FAC System to Meccano is quite significant, so mechanically it is a completely different machine. The software part was also rewritten from scratch.
They realized that for low-level tasks (such as generating pulses to stepper drivers) is better to use Arduino than Raspberry Pi to make things more reliable and faster. For more sophisticated tasks (such as solving algorithm and touch UI), Raspberry Pi is a better fit. They took the best from both worlds: fancy touchscreen and camera from Pi, and fast and fine-tuned motor control from Arduino. Creators also used AccelStepper library for Arduino to move motors in a smart way (with acceleration and deceleration).
It took them about 5 months to finish this project. The current version consists of Meccano parts available on the market, and it is powered by RPi 3, Teensy 3.2, Raspberry camera and touchscreen. It is not necessary to use these particular components: it works well with any RPi (Compute Module was initially used), any Arduino board (they tried Uno, Mega, and Mini). Software is quite flexible in this sense.


For more information about the Rubik’s Shrine and how to build your own copy of the machine visit:



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