Sunday, January 26, 2014

Working on the Lifter and more computer work

The Lifter Mechanism

This week I started working on the lifter mechanism that will give R2 the ability to show off the Life Form Scanner and Periscope.  Another builder in Sweden has a very clever design that has great potential.  

The trick is in Sweden everything in metric.  Replicating the parts in a non-metric country is a bit of a challenge!

Since he was kind enough to give me the files in STL format, my Ultimaker 3D printer and its CURA software can print most of the parts with ease.  However for something like this, I am not sure plastic is the best material.

To make the parts in aluminum, we had to work a bit harder.  Lars was kind enough to make the plans in DXF format, even though he had them all in Solid Works format.  Solid Works, which I have the Academic Version, does not allow you to have the latest Service Packs.  So, I could not view his files since he had a newer version.  Anyways, asides Solid Works proving to be more an obstacle than an effective CAD tool, we switched programs to keep making progress.

Then it was math word problems.  In the USA, all of our materials are in Imperial.  We can't go to the metal supply store and buy 5 mm thick material.  The closest I had was 1/4 inch, which when measured, turned out to be 0.24 inch thick.  That converts to 6.096 mm.  For each part, I would have to mill away 1.096 mm of material.  Sounds easy now but at the time, making all the tweaks in vCarve Pro and remembering to convert to metric...busy day of math problems!  

The bracket pieces are currently bent but I want my welding friend to touch that up a bit.  

The remaining parts are hard to source in the USA.  The gear I found, but the Module 1.0 15 mm x 15 mm rack is proving to be a bit more of a challenge.  Once I do get hold of the rack piece, I believe that will need some additional machining too.  Since that is steel, the equipment I have access too will not be able to cut it.  I'll need to recruit some help from a local shop for that.  The servo, shaft adapter and motor are all ordered and en route!

More Intel NUC progress!

The new power converter was put to the test this week!  Thanks to Intel replacing the NUC with a newer model that had the power connector, I tried it out.  

The HDMI to VGA adapter that went bad was replaced under warranty (despite having to email incessantly to C2G and Tiger Direct to get them to SHIP THE REPLACEMENT.  I can't give either high marks for customer service on this one.)  

I ran on battery power for 25 minutes before shutting down, happy that there were no hiccups with the converter.  According to the technical specs, the NUC will draw 13 watts at idle, 27 watts at load.  I've been consulting with some electronic minds to get an idea on the best battery and size to consider for powering this PC.