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Build a cool reproducible robot out of one A4 size sheet of laser cut material
In many Fablabs Lasercutters are accesible to anyone with a good idea. This machine is perfect for cutting trough sheet material with high precision. Reason enough to use it for building cool robots! The contest is open for anyone willing to create a design and release it as Creative Commons…
Use one sheet of material, like 2 mm acrylic glass or 4 mm plywood. It is up to you, but use one single type of material. Keep the budget low, and keep external components and parts to a minimum, reproducibility of your design is key! You are allowed to use any type of controller (MBed, Arduino, NE555, whatever) - but again take note: reproducibility is key.
+ many moving parts
+ many actuated parts
+ easy to reproduce
+ cool design
- difficult parts
- high costs
- many motors or servo’s
- rest material
- complex tools
The more actuated and non-actuated degrees of freedom, the better. More activity with less motors is good. Your design should be easy reproducible and have a certain level of autonomy and interaction. Points will be subtracted for use of extra hardware, expensive parts, glue and complex tools. Also full use of your sheet is encouraged, so the amount of rest-material is taken into account.
Various laser cutters are at your disposal in your vicinity. Saxion students and members of the general public (i.e. everyone) can use the laser cutter at FablabEnschede during public opening hours. bring your design on USB stick, bring your own material and cut away… For UT students there is one option nearby in the SmartXP lab. There are fablabs to visit in every major city in the Netherlands. If you do not want to travel, you can send your design to A4laser.nl and have it cut and shipped back for you!
Make yourself known to us: join the facebook group or write an email. Submit your design before October 7th 2012. The prizewinner(s) will be selected shortly after that. Submission consists of one A4 PDF / SVG of the design, combined with picture or drawing, bill of materials and description of the end result. Submit to email@example.com
Beer or honor or both (or any beverage of choice accompanying said honor) - also some samples of a kit based on your design - produced by Studio13. We are currently working on more interesting stuff to lure more participants…
Why A4?: nice restriction, you can test your design using a normal printer and a piece of cardboard.
Which materials can I use? Most lasers will work with acrylic glass from 2-6 mm. Plywood from 2-5 mm. Metals cannot be cut. Also materials containing PVC cannot be cut due to safety reasons. Furthermore paper, leather, cardboard etc. can be used. Polycarbonate (Lexan) can be cut but gives charred edges.
Can I use scrap material? The problem with using scrap material is that when you use just this gear out of just this type of old DVD player that it is hard for somebody else to find exact that part and reproduce your work. Better to cut the gears from the A4-plate (which was the whole point)
Who owns my work? You do. You always hold the rights as author of your design work. We strongly suggest you to consider to distribute your design under Creative Commons license so it can be used for workshops, experiments and other non-profit causes.
Who will be the judge? to be decided. Peer review is a likely candidate
Which design tools can I use? Any tool will do. For cutting you need to supply the design as vector drawing (eps/eps works best). Suggested drawing tool if no other experience: Inkscape
Can I team up with others? Sure, but youʼll have to share the prize.
The dancing man is ready to be revealed: the presentation is Friday 7th at the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam.
See also a report in Bright..
Now, print your own!
Talking about thwarting the Demo-effect. At the opening last Thursday (2011-02-17) of an exhibition of my work I tried to get about 18 of my installations up and running (not simultaneously). Most of them worked (at a second go). Good result all in all - the title ‘don’t worry, everything’s under control’ remains well chosen, be it with the intended amount of irony.
Pictures by Paul Clason:
A very interesting post on retro thing : The optical audio-tapes on the pallophotophone, how would they work? Perhaps a system reminiscent of the optigan organ? I tried to make a similar system once, using a printed disc on a disk-drive motor. Unfortunately my pickup (a photodiode) only picked up 50Hz noise.. (okay, I was 12)… It took me some years to realize that I was listening to my desk lamp instead of the optical disk.. oh well…
It is fun to see how deprivation of material can spark creativity! By setting the boundaries for this project to use ONLY the parts of printers and computer junk, you can - will come up with solutions you otherwise wouldn’t have thought of!
After last week’s enthusiastic post, reality kicked in hard when trying to control the steppermotors. Bottom line: they were by far not strong enough to power the metal carriage (normally they only have to move a plastic printer head) Besides lack of strength, they also lacked resolution. With one step (motor 7.2 degrees) more than one milimeter is covered! This makes it hard to get enough precision for printing parts.
One other problem is synchrony between the two side-axes. The slightest difference between the two motors causes the system to jam. The only way to prevent this is to mechanically link both motors.
It came as a surprise that it is possible to do all this using only the remaining parts of the matrix printers. The gears that were previously used for driving the paper roll have been used for a reduction in the drive train. Superfluous gears normally used for spinning the ink-lint have been used as bearings.
The last two pictures show two optical detectors as end-stops for initialization purposes.
Between the two halve shafts that couple the motions from both Y axes, a temporary meccano solution has been made as flexible shaft coupling. Eventually something will have to be distilled from the printer parts, or I will cheat with an ordered flex coupling.