Working on the laser cut pieces for RoboBrrd is a little different than the popsicle sticks. The pieces have to be interlocking, have to be able to be attached together using screws, and the thickness of the material (1/8 inch or 3.175mm) is a lot more than the ~1mm of popsicle sticks.
Instead of trying to do guess-work and design this in Inkscape, I chose to model the whole robot in Inventor. Mainly because the dimensioning is a lot easier and more precise, but also because it will be more flexible to go from 2D laser cut pieces to 3D printed pieces (if we ever get a Makerbot). Also having a model on screen will be really useful to put in the instructions and annotate it.
This week has been pretty intense. It’s a really long timelapse. Pretty much every night by the time I would stop recording on Screen Ninja, it would say that it has been recording for 4 hours… yeah. It takes a lot of time to make anything, check out the timelapse!
Autodesk also has this nifty thing called Inventor Publisher. Basically you can take your Assembly files and explode them or rotate them, and make sort of like a movie. They went the next step though and also made it an interactive experience with their app… check it out:
OK, so started out with modelling the base of the beak:
It’s mainly all dimensioned, in case the tab sizes have to change:
Then the bridge part of the beak:
The tabs line up good:
Then the side pieces:
Then started on the front face! Decided there should be lots of mounting holes in the corners. The holes for the LEDs are large to have enough room for the wires:
This was the first try at the tabs. It was horrible because it wasn’t a repeating pattern, they weren’t grouped as a block, and the extrusion never joined the main part of the extrusion. It was horrendous!
These parts here are the nose ‘rib’ and the nose pad. The rib goes through the hole in the beak to suspend it, and the nose pad stops the beak from moving along the rib. In this version the rib has to use a size 2 screw because it actually has to go through the hole in the beak, and there’s not a lot of room. The nose pad in this version actually had to change because it was interfering with the beak!
Assemblies are great to be able to take some files in and see how they work together. Better yet, they auto-update whenever there’s a change in the original part file. Here we’re checking to see how the beak fits. As you can see, it doesn’t fit very good because they are overlapping!
Here’s the cross-section of the assembly, basically you can see how much room the rib has to move around in.
I took some screenshots and played with them in Photoshop (it was quicker than setting constraints in the assembly) to see how they would rotate. There is a bit of an overlap, but in this case they would probably push against eachother and there would be enough room where the rib goes through the bridge of the beak to allow the beak halves to move up a tiny amount and not get stuck. This will need to be tested in reality a bit more.
Getting the tabs to work properly is actually a very difficult challenge. Here I’m zoomed in the entire way, and you can see some of the lines don’t mash up properly. Ended up redoing the tabs instead of trying to fix this mess.
Here it is after it is fixed, as you can see the faces of the main part and the tabs are joined together! Also the nose pad changed in height as well.
Next up was to create a 2D drawing of all the pieces in that file. I had to manually split the file for the face/rib/pad, but it worked out. For some random reason the nose pad decided to be imported at 5:1 scale, which was kind of hilarious because I have no idea how that happened and it just looks kind of funny. After changing that though, it was no problem.
And here they are in Inkscape! They aren’t one path though, I’m not sure how this will effect the laser cutting :s
3d modelling in Inventor is pretty epic. Here’s some screenshots of some various views and angles:
Yeah I think the 3d modelling part is pretty sweet!
In the models I made the tabs bigger than the holes. This sounds counter-intuitive, but apparently when cutting this thing called ‘kerf’ will make the tabs smaller and the holes bigger. Cool! Luckily Spikenzie Labs spent a lot of time figuring this out, so they are the experts and are awesome at sharing their experience!
You may or may not be wondering how on earth RoboBrrd will still be OSHW if the files are in Inventor- which only hardly anyone will be able to open. There’s actually a lot of ways! Above I showed the outlines in Inkscape, from there I can render out to png, pdf, or svg- which anyone can open. I can embed the Inventor file into a webpage with the Autodesk viewer snippet, which you can actually see an example of on RoboBrrd’s page (except it is using an AutoCAD model). The interactive portion- I can make the file available for anyone, and Autodesk has the app for iOS and Android. It can also be rendered out to video, which I can put on YouTube. So as you can tell, it really isn’t that big of a problem. There’s going to be lots of ways for the documentation and files to be out there that everyone will be able to see and you won’t have to have Inventor.
I’m going to print these out on paper and see what needs to be changed! I’m pretty excited about this all, it’s going to be really cool to see how they turn out.
The Robot Party posters have been printed, however apparently getting shipping tubes is insanely difficult. I tried a site that had decent prices, but YEESH some Americans just can’t stand Canadians and refuse to ship stuff here, it’s ridiculous! Finally I found some over at Staples industrial, so they should be here shortly.
Also shoutout to my friends over at WyoLum who are doing some really cool STEM outreach this week/last week. I was supposed to be there but unfortunately couldn’t make it. I’m sure their electronics and experience will rock the conferences!
More to come about the pieces for RoboBrrd, stay posted! Also HAPPY BIRTHDAY to MANOI! What a rocking robot, it is always so cool- and definitely enjoys its new blinky necklace!
Creating art with robots usually ends up with a result that is unexpected from the beginning! I created this fluid dynamics + physics sketch in Processing that was fun, and sort of looked like the soap from space. I connected it with RoboBrrd, and it was super unreal the result that it created.
All sorts of people have different ideas about what it is, it seems to change from person to person, which is really interesting With RoboBrrd, since the light is being shone into its “eyes” (because the LDRs are located close to the eyes), lots of people have said it like a RoboBrrd hallucination. I’m not so sure about this, but playing with it is lots of fun, and shooting some long-exposure photos creates interesting results
My inspiration for creating this was lack of inspiration. I couldn’t focus on more important things to do, but at the same time I didn’t feel like doing nothing.
You can look at the code on GitHub. It’s commented and annotated, so it should be a good starting point if you want to create something like this.
Oh yeah, and to maybe answer a question you might be wondering- I’m not “on” anything. The only thing I’m “on” is my computer 18 hours a day, coding and creating.
If you use this sketch or make something similar, leave a comment with your project! It would be cool to see how this translates into other robot art