Andrew Burks

Tag: Fabrication

Continued Vibratron Construction

by on Feb.23, 2011, under RobOrchestra, Robotics Club, Vibratron

The main structure was assembled and is now able to support all of the keys, as well as a big bucket of balls.

The sloped basin which funnels the balls into the auger:

Basin with Trapezoids

Raised key units with some main structure:

Raised Circles

One of the wings:

Wing - Single no Foam

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Vibratron Structure Construction Underway

by on Feb.09, 2011, under RobOrchestra, Robotics Club, Vibratron

Metal Cut

After a bit of confusion with OnlineMetals.com, I got all 94 feet of Aluminum 1”x1” in the mail.  I cut it up into the appropriate lengths using the cool new carbide-tipped miter saw in the robotics club.  In the end, there are 54 lengths of angle that all need holes drilled in specific places.  All these pictures are from my cell phone, so bear with me…

40 of the 54 lengths needed for the vibraphone:

Cut Angle

Key Units Painted

The first attempt at painting the key units was a complete failure.  However, Megan Dority suggested that I used primer, and even picked some up for me.  It worked like a charm.  Also, Austin Buchan was able to get the group access to the Newel Simon paint booth, which was a huge help.

Key units drying in the paint booth:

Key Units - Paint Booth

Key units after drying:

Key Units - Cart

Waterjet Parts Donated

RobOrchestra founder and alumnus Rich Pantaleo came through once again for the group.  He was able to obtain a large donated sheet of 6063 Aluminum in just a few days when we needed it most.  Also, he cut out all the parts we needed just a few days after getting the sheet!  I made a few mistakes on those parts, but nothing too critical.  I had to widen half of the slots in the giant half circles because I didn’t account for the thickness of the paint and the oversized hardboard.

Completely assembled and painted key unit:

Key Unit - Single on Circle

Key Unit - Single on Circle (below)

All of the key units on their half circles:

Key Units - On Circle - Top Iso (Prelim)

Key Units - On Circle - Front Close(Prelim)

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Final Gate Design Testing

by on Oct.04, 2010, under RobOrchestra, Robotics Club, Vibratron

The mechanism we designed on Wednesday was constructed this past weekend.  It takes about one hour to manufacture each of the three parts that comprise the gate mechanism.  However, it costs less than five dollars to construct a full gate assembly.

Fabrication

The assembly turned out just as planned.  The only issue that we ran into was that there needed to be a washer between the solenoid mounting plate and the tube in order to keep the solenoid and window lined up.  Each of the three parts will need to be machined 30 times to assemble the full Vibratron.

Tube

The extruded aluminum tube that the balls roll through has an inner diameter of 0.5” and an outer diameter of 1”.  In the final version it will be much shorter (roughly three inches long) but for testing purposes a longer tube was used here.

On one side of the tube there are a set of holes drilled and tapped for a #6-32 bolt, with a channel milled in between to allow clearance for the solenoid bracket.  Orthogonal to those features is a through hole for the tip to enter the tube and a counter-bore on that hole for an o-ring to sit in.

Mount

The mount connects the tube to the solenoid, and the assembly to the rest of the robot.  In this version, instead of an L-bracket like in the rendered design, we used a plate for simplicity.

Tip

Made from HDPE on a Lathe, the tip blocks the balls from passing through the tube when down.  The conical shape prevents the tip from jamming on the top of a ball when closing.  The flat end of the tip has a hole for the solenoid to mount in.  A perpendicular set of holes connects the tip to the solenoid with a #4-40 bolt.

Side View

Gate Prototype - Side

Detail View

Gate Prototype - detail

Testing

During Sunday’s meeting the team put the mechanism through a variety of tests.  The end result was the decision to move ahead with the design and incorporate it into the main Vibratron assembly.

Speed

Two potentiometers were used to vary the two delays involved with letting a single ball pass through the mechanism.  The first delay controls how long the solenoid is powered.  During this time, the gate rises up.  The second delay controls the minimum amount of time it takes for the spring to return the gate to a closed position after the solenoid is turned off.

After considerable testing, it was determined that the perfect amount of time for both parameters is 35ms.  This means that it takes 70ms to dispense each ball at maximum speed (obviously you could go slower, effectively increasing the second delay).  At this speed, the mechanism can dispense over 14 balls per second!

Power Draw

When left on for a significant amount of time (>1 second) the solenoids draw 3 amps at 12 volts.  This is a large amount of current.  However, when the solenoid is only on for 35 thousandths of a second, the average current draw drops to around .9 amps.  With a capacitor in the power circuit to soften initial power spikes when the solenoid is first turned on, the power requirements of the device seem much more reasonable.

Durability

The final test of the mechanism was to test its durability.  The device was run for 1000 consecutive cycles, mostly without any balls in the tube.  After the cycles completed, the solenoid was only slightly warm.  Because of the low (10%) duty cycle of the solenoid, overheating was a major concern.  But after this test, the group is confident that this solenoid can perform adequately.

In the initial prototype of the gate mechanism, the plastic tip was bent and mangled after only a few hours of testing.  In the new version, the o-ring support the load of the closing gate on the sides instead of the tip.  The durability test showed the the tip could maintain its shape even after significant use.

Video

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