This week, I returned to Rhinoceros to finnish up some early designs for a joint.
Once you get going in Rhino, and get passed the initial amazement of how many buttons there are to press, it actually becomes a fairly usable program. That being said, adding a third dimension really does add a whole new dimension of difficulty; Adobe Illustrator (a dedicated graphic design program which I’m kinda familiar with) feels like Word standing next to Rhino. So at the end of the week, despite how simple it is, I felt pretty proud of the joint I came up with:
A virtual joint. PVC tubing will interface with this by slotting into each end and will be secured with a through bolt.
I felt excited too. Excited that something that I draw on a computer can be “easily” inputted into a mill and created almost exactly how it appears on the screen. And this is just the danger of computer aided manufacturing techniques. Everyone thinks (myself included) that whatever appears on screen will appear perfectly in real life. Almost everything that happens in a computer design program is impossible in real life, so it becomes very plausible to end with a final design that fits into that category. Hopefully something as simple as this this will work a-OK. If it does, I think that to have identical joints will help reduce the amount of error in each leg and each step, and produce a Grazer that will walk straight and not require additional bracing for the legs (as Jansen’s strandbeest does).
The next step is to actually get the mill going. I’ve began to speak with some Westtown teachers and a mentor from the Robotics season to get it in action. Once that happens hopefully I can get some joints milled, tested, and designs finalized to begin building. Also on the list of things to do is to design junction/joint pieces for the fixed triangle sections of each leg (which need to be at specific angles), and begin thinking about a chassis/drivetrain design.
This week I stumbled across a cool architecture firm called Morphosis, headed by architect Thom Mayne. The firm has built a variety of large buildings, mainly university buildings, corporate headquarters, and museums. I really like Morphosis’s use of materials in their buildings, which allow them to stand out yet also blend seamlessly into the landscape or adjacent buildings, a trait that I would love the Grazer to have. Looking at this page made me realize to open my mind up to other materials besides PVC and aluminum, it’s just that they need to be light enough.
PS: Since I’m just coming off of a knee surgery, I applied to use the sports period at my school to work on this project. I hope it gets approved!