Cardboard RoboBrrd, Learning Lots, and a Heathkit!
Up to this point the progress on RoboBrrd has been pretty scrambled. But tonight, I hit a milestone! The cardboard prototype of RoboBrrd is pretty good! The only thing that needs to be confirmed is how to actually attach the beak to the frames to make it rotate, same with the wings. There should be some sort of rivet that can be used
This picture isn’t the exact beak version, but it illustrates the point here.
Out of nowhere I wake up with this idea that it would be really cool to have the wing servos and beak servo supported by being suspended between the top and bottom faces. It took a while to get this idea working, and the pieces for this stage are extremely dependent on each other. However, using this idea saves an incredible unbelievable amount of space.
One of the great things about being here is to rapidly prototype everything. It helped get the beak centered and sorted out very quickly compared to if I were to just try to do it by CAD. Here is a stack of cardboard brrds that are swamping Impy RoboBrrd!
It takes a while to understand the best settings to choose for laser cutting a material that does not have a template for it. For cardboard I usually had to do multiple passes. Each time I tweak the parameters and am getting pretty close to having great cuts on the first try.
There has been a lot of thought that has gone into what material should be used. At first I started out using basswood, but to get it in 6 inches rather than 4 is quite more expensive, and not a lot of people have it around. In the end we’re going to be using some mdf. It’s not very expensive, and it is really sturdy!
For fun, here was some test cuts done on extruded polystyrene. This stuff laser cuts really easily, but you can’t depend on it for kerf testing.
Here is another pic of the initial cardboard lasercut testing. On the corners are some supports that will help in the stability of RoboBrrd to prevent it from collapsing :p
CAD has been so helpful lately. It sucks that I have to use it on this tiny screen, but the number of mistakes that you can catch before cutting is quite amazing. Creating assemblys of all the parts and seeing the piece right before your eyes is amazing!
One of the highlights of being here is that in addition to their amazing laser cutter, they have a shopbot cnc! It is really noisy when it is actually cutting.
I’m also working on some stamps of the Robot Party and RoboBrrd for Hackerspace passports.
The process for laser cutting stamps is interesting. A lot of the features are already built in to the driver software. One of the main differences though is that it is a raster cut rather than vector cut.
Going to the local electronics stores is really cool. You never know what you will find, like this really nice robot hidden away:
In case you missed it, there are two guest blog posts that I’ve done on the Evil Mad Scientist blog! The first one is how to blink an LED with an AVR! Go read it!
The second one is Part 1 of a Heathkit build. It is so cool. Also weird timing because the day I posted it, they also decided to shut down again. They must have seen the blog post and were terrified XD. The build is a lot of fun, so go read about it!
That is about all the progress for now. I’ve done some cool things with code that I can’t really mention here just yet since it is still secret. The past few days I’ve been working on making it parametric so that many more things will be easier. Only problem is that sometimes making things parametric is really trying.
Been learning lots all about electronics and trying to soak it all in like a sponge. Only problem is that with my memory, I hardly soak anything in. But at least the really interesting parts seem to stick pretty well 😀
Another thing that has to be done is that this bird has to be hacked somehow! Since it is so adorable I was thinking of some non-invasive hackery, like adding LED bling or an animatronic exoskelton to it.
There is so much more to be accomplished before Maker Faire Educational Day. It’s going to be insane. I hope I’ll be able to do it all! If RoboBrrd kit version doesn’t get done now, it will probably never get done because there just aren’t that many resources like everything at EMSL up in Canada. This is the sprint before the finish line!