It has been a while since the last blog entry. So whats been happening?
I have continued to install the inner skin on the Trojan Cat. I need a fairly solid surface to attach the exterior planks to. I am hoping that the planks with give more validity to the fact that the mice might have actually been the ones who tried to build it. The inner skin is 1/64" plywood pieces glued to ribs wherever it seemed to make sense and the bending properties of the plywood allow. Here is a couple of photos.
As you can see holdoing each piece is place while the glue dries is a combination of scissor clamps, masking tape, and elastic bands. You can see an elastic around one of the paws where I have started puuting exterior planks. The photo of the head area, on the right, shows elastics holding one of the chin panels in place while drying.
Meanwhile I've started some preliminary installation of the mechanical components that will operate this piece. This underside view shows the motor and gearing that will cauase the platform in the cat's body to rise and fall, as well as the motor that drives the wheels. These components came from a educational robitics source. There will also be servos installed in the cat's body to animate the mice.
What's been occupying most of my time is attempting to program an Arduino to opearte all these bits. I guess that being an engineer, and a much older and wiser one at that, made me believe that this would be a snap! Well the gray matter sands of time have shifted. It is not the piece of cake I had hoped for! I find myself wandering around web forums, Youtube videos, and the internet in general, seeking that magic tidbit that will make everything become clear. I haven't found it yet! I sank so low one day last week I actually Googled where to hire Arduino programmers. For now I soldier on, getting little bits of code to work , but failing to get the thing to have a life of its own. I think that it's punishement for being so cocky in the first place!
I have made one mouse. I wasn't sure whether to fit the mice in armour to play more to the "Trojan Cat" theme or whether to have them just as big-eared mice trying to get back into a cheese factory as my concept originally envisioned. I wasn't going to commit until I was able to prove to myself that I could make a credible helmet. This is the mouse I have made that will rise from between the cat's ears, seen both before and after painting.
He will push up the hatch cover as he rises and hold it over his head as he turns in both directions to scout around and then sink back down. With a reasonable looking mouse whose armour adds a little colour to the piece under my belt, I guess I will clad the mice on the rising platform in armour and equip them with swords and sheilds.
Now back to some more programming.....
Automata is a creative blend of my life interests , engineering, art and woodworking.