This paper describes the justification and design of a Scarfing Tool for Automated Repair of Composites (STARC) system. The repair of aircraft composites is currently a manual process that subjects workers to adverse working conditions often leading to costly mistakes and poor repair quality. Commercial robots are finishing many types of materials in many industries, but none are performing scarfing repairs. A lightweight, portable manipulator is needed to automate the scarfing process.
A pneumatic, parallel link Stewart Platform manipulator will provide necessary grinding trajectories. The primary benefits of Stewart Platform manipulators is their high stiffness to weight ratio and their simple modular design. For the STARC, a commercially available Adjustable Force Device (AFD) would be mounted on the underside of the movable platform. In this configuration, the platform would meet all the major design goals of providing a substantial work envelope, the required six degrees-of-freedom, and relatively light weight portability without sacrificing rigidity.