Potassium-Boron Pellet Press
This project never came to fruition for logistical reasons, so there are only design pictures. It was to be a robust automated pellet press for repeatably producing high-quality potassium-boron samples for infrared spectroscopy in a classroom lab environment. It was a collaboration at Idaho State University between me in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering and Nuri Omar in Chemistry (who was also my Arabic instructor a while back). My part was to design, fabricate, and test the entire system, but I left before we had chance to get that far.
The KBr powder goes into the red holder ring, which is sandwiched between two anvils. These were to be machined out of nickel and highly polished. The holder assembly then fits into the tan slide.
The slide then goes into the compression mechanism with a motor-driven jack screw controlled by a microcontroller. There are all sorts of parameters involved in preparing these samples.
None of the safety aspects are rendered here, but this is always a huge consideration in any system, especially those to be used by the public.
Commercial manual versions look like this. Students are inconsistent in their application of pressure over the required time.