Tomato Slicer

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Group Members



In our group, Tony really likes tomatoes, but he’s too lazy to cut them. He’d rather give a knife, a lethal weapon, to a robot to do it for him. So we all decided to engage in this wonderful endeavor. One of our goals is to rid the world of knives by giving the responsibility of cutting to robots which can easily be tampered with to carry out an evildoer's bidding.

Setting Up the Project

The tomato slicer will use two servo motors. One will control the knife arm and the other will sit under a base and rotate the tomato. A downward motion by the knife arm will slice the tomato and each time the tomato is sliced it is rotated by the second servo and then the process is repeated again.

The software will be done on MATLAB.


  • Build the system by December 2nd
  • Write the code by December 3rd
  • Start on wiki by November 20th
  • Work out the kinks by December 7th to present
  • Finish the wiki by December 8th

Equipment Required

  • Many tomatoes
  • 2 servo motors
  • 1 knife
  • Base made by Smitty
  • Duct tape
  • String

The Design Process

Our prototypical design was very similar to the final design. The plan was the same but minor adjustments had to be made in order to accommodate to reality.


The prototype was very simple. It consisted of two motors and a knife arm. The tomato would have sat on the motor which was to be covered with saran wrap. We quickly realized that there were things left out.

Design 1

This design differed from the prototype because instead of pinning the tomato to the motor and using Saran wrap to protect the motor, a base was used to hold the tomato and to collect its juices. The knife we were able to acquire had to be duct taped on instead of attached to the mechanism.

Design 1 Test


Wesley is attempting to attach the knife in this picture.


John is inserting one of the tomatoes into the base. During this, we realized that we should get bigger tomatoes.


Finally, we got the mechanism together and started running tests.

Design 2

While running tests with design 1, we realized that the motor does not have enough power to slice a tomato in half. So we altered the MATLAB program to slice the tomato into quarters, one piece by one piece. However, we did not get a chance to test this because our logic board was broken and the other one we found was also broken.