Robotics at IoT Design Shop

Robotics at IoT Design Shop

In 2022, we turned our R&D focus to Robotics and Automation at the shop. Specifically we focused on the challenge of automating CNC Machine Tending and exploring Industrial Applications of Cobots (such as the Universal Robots UR3). There are many reasons why this makes sense:

  • IOT Design Shop is uniquely positioned to be able to manage vertical integration of robots from hardware, to firmware, to software, and all of the processes involved.
  • Our in house machine shop ( is both well suited to produce mechanical parts for robots, and also the perfect testbed for machine tending and industrial automation. We are trying to deploy robots and automation to make our shop competitive.
  • We see shifting demographics and economic drivers indicating that robotics and automated production are clearly important ingredients to restoring manufacturing and self sufficiency to North America.
Trent Shumay with our Tormach ZA-6 Industrial Robot
Trent Shumay with our Tormach ZA-6 Industrial Robot

Tormach ZA-6 Industrial Robot Beta Program

We were fortunate to be selected by Tormach to purchase their new ZA-6 Industrial Robot and to participate in their Beta program. Our specific focus was to see if we could get the machine to perform CNC Machine Tending on the Tormach 1100 CNC Mill using the VersaBuilt Multigrip System.

Although a longer journey than we initially expected, the results ultimately bore fruit, and the conclusion of the project was a success. We were able to successfully tend our CNC mill with the robot and system, and it remains in service today making parts. The process was documented with a series of YouTube videos – the grand finale is shared below, but there’s a lot more detail if you’re interested!

Spoiler – This is the last (and best) video in the series of Machine Tending with the Tormach ZA-6

Universal Robots Cobot Integrations

Universal Robots is an industry leader in next-generation ‘Cobot’ applications. Cobots differ from traditional industrial robots with a host of safety and usability features designed to make it safer for humans to operate near by the robots in a “collaborative” setting.

We have UR robots on site, and are currently developing a variety of internet and customer applications for them. If you’re interested in a cobot to help solve a specific business problem, feel free to reach out for Universal Robots Consulting. We are interested in doing Universal Robots Integrations for customer jobs, and would be happy to help.

The video below features a UR3 Cobot on a custom 7th Axis Extender we designed and built in the shop. This is the foundation of a low-cost machine tending solution we’re currently developing.

Our Robotics Roadmap

In 2023, we intend to continue working on robot and cobot applications, primarily featuring Universal Robots Integrations. We are keeping our strategy up to date and would invite you to review our goals and achievements in the fields of robotics below: