GitHub, Hand “hacking”, and Mechanics – Xan

There are four things that I have to do in the next few months:

1. Order motors and potentiometers and modify (“hack”) the hand to use them.

2. Set up a meeting with the recipient of the hand (to test EMGs).

3. Begin printing a new hand on the FormLabs printer.

4. Commit the code to GitHub

Oh, hey, that last one’s done! Earlier today I committed a bunch of code to the repository, so that others can experiment alongside us. The repository, can be found here. Feel free to check it out! Keep in mind that quite a bit of the code is untested, due to a lack of materials. The servo code and the EMG test code both seem to work pretty well, though.

Read on for more information about the other points mentioned!

Not much can be said about the first two points, except that by “hacking” I mean making a very rough, unpolished prototype of the hand that just works. I have very much been enjoying this process of modifying the hand in whatever ways I need to, whether it’s by drilling through the fingers or just sanding down joints until they work the way I want them to. By going through this process of hand hacking, I’m finding design flaws and ways of improving the current hand design. It’s great!

The meeting last night went well, and has set the project back on the right path again. I’ll have a meeting with the recipient of the hand in the near future, but as I stated above, there’s not much to add about that. I’ll probably edit the EMG test code slightly before that meeting, but I don’t expect much else. *Except results.

The FormLabs resin printer is going to be used to print a smooth model hand for display and test purposes. I spent a lot of time today cleaning the build platform of the printer, which is a pain — especially when resin has been hardening to the platform for nearly a month and making everything very sticky. The resin tank and all of the sticky tools were cleaned by means of a thorough alcohol bath, which has left everything smooth and relatively clean. Next on my list will be to obtain some FormLabs materials, and we’ll be on our way to having a smooth hand once again!

Stay tuned! Lots of interesting stuff will be coming up – and hopefully some more pictures.

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