Saturday, September 23, 2006


Magnetic Mockup

Yes it's still the mockup. I'm 200km away from my workshop, but I brought the mockup with me to experiment with in the meantime.

The magnetic joint concept appears to work. The magnets hold the pieces hard enough that you can pick it up by the top, wave it around, whatever, it won't budge. Try and pull the top off and my ridiculous structure will disintegrate before the magnets let go. The points are quite hard to drag out of place as well, even when just sitting on the magnet as pictured. But they pivot without resistance when a piston is moved.

Keen-eyed viewers will note that I'm not using the rod-ends pictured in my previous post. Those turned out to be stainless steel, much to my suprise. I'm using ordinary nails.

I'm 200km away from my workshop, but I brought the mockup with me to experiment with in the meantime.

I hear that. I'm on travel all the time and rarely have the resources to experiment with reprap projects. (currently in Boston till Monday)

Hmm... I suppose if there were a collapsable version it might even fit in checked luggage :)
I think we need a portable reprap machine! :-D
Maybe that's the solution for a project like this; to have multiple class machines designed around different themes. Or at least special sub-projects.

MobiRepRap or RepRap2Go - thin but sturdy chassis that can be assembled and disassembled with a screwdriver. Maybe 3 main pieces, for the 3 axes making up the complete device. (I saw some neat 'toy robotics' at radio shack that were similar to erector sets. The light but strong aluminum framework would probably make a good backbone for this one.)

CheapRap - Reprap made from inexpensive and often salvaged equipment.

Hope I spur some creative thought
/me needs to get back to work.
Actually, two of my designs lend themselves to travel...

My first one is pretty bare... resembling a + hanging over a moveable platform for the other axis. There's no actual support to hold the + above the platform; i'm probably going to hang it from two computer cases, but you could hang it between any two stable objects of about the same height. The third axis just sits underneath, running perpendicular to the +'s plane. Take the + apart (take the 'end caps' off and let the axis motor run the drive piece off the end of one axis) and you've git it in 3 small pieces (4 if you include the electronics).

My idea for this design has been to create the base reprap itself, and not worry about the extra stuff... (you can suspend this on anything, you could even dig a trench in the ground and suspend the + over it! use cinder blocks! anything...)

By third design idea (number two is NOT portable), is the robotic arm... Just make the base heavy enough to hold it down, or give it a C clamp to clamp onto a desk or table, and that's pretty portable itself...

My concern.... traveling through airport security with a bunch of homemade electronics/wireing/etc... Even if you check the baggage, they're going to look twice, and might not let it on board...
Collapsible, eh? The current version of the mockup uses soley magnetic joints now. Assembling and disassembling it is as easy as snapping the nail points in and out of their divots.

Travelling with it is less certain. Even if they let the electronics slide, they're bound to be interested in what I planned on doing with six nail-bearing syringes...
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