Hopefully it should be obvious from this photo what the latest Conquergood Creative automata project is. Here is the story line.
The Verlum County Cheese Company had an investation of mice that was eating into their profits. So they hired an exterminator to address the problem. The mice fled the factory. But days later with the exterminator gone the mice attempted to reenter the facility. To their dismay all the nooks and crannies that had allowed them to originally get into the plant had been plugged. Desperate, they recalled how the Greeks used the Trojan House to gain access to the city of Troy and decided to employ a similar trick. They are hopeful that their Trojan Cat will be mistaken for a friendly neighbourhood cat and be taken into the cheese factory as additional help to keep the mice population down. It is a clever plan, but who knows if it will be successful.
Here is the current state the of the project. What isn't noticeable is the mechanism for the wheels and lift installed under the base.
Well this should should be a pretty good visual clue as to the nature of my current project, although the nature of the beast may not be obvious yet. The wheels should be the big clue. I'm back in the shop tomorrow and the skeleton should finally give away the mystery. Then it will be the hard work, shaping and attaching the covering.
Since it is an automata project, the will wheels turn of course. The mechanisms that work up into the legs has been roughed together on a test bed. Still adding a few wrinkles to the design along the way!
Onward and upward! That's another subtle hint.
Things are moving along. The ribs of the creature are starting to define its shape. It looks more like a Spanish Galleon than an animal!
So I am back in the shop after churning away on my computer doing CAD and researching and sourcing some specialty pieces for my next project. I was attempting to avoid the use of any electrical bits, but it seemed to be the most plausible path to build some reliability into the project. So at the ripe old age of " I can learn anything - I think! I am setting out to use a little electronics, (Arduino), plus some servos and motors to accomplish things. This decision was made since my design incorporates a requirement for actuators to go up inside the leg of an animal. I'll keep that a mystery for a bit just for fun.
The photo below shows the leg construction. The design uses a construction system not unlike building plane or boat models. There will be a structural skin on the legs, shown on two at this point, with a later covering of another type. This exoskeleton will provide the required strength. The skin is 1/32nd birch plywood. After gluing one edge of the plywood onto the frame and letting it harden, I glued the remainder on with an overlap. The elastics provide clamp force until the glue dries. In the meantime I'm cutting out ribs!
More to come!
If you look at my previous blog you'd see that I was building a reversing clutch from an early patent sketch. Well Version 1 had a few issues, so I set out on Version 2. The biggest change was the clutch faces. I moved them a little closer together and went for a face to face direct contact ( more like the patent sketch) since Version 1 did not release well. After building a jig to router the clutch plates I was happy with the fit and appearance. After fit up the clutch movement seems to work fairly well. Here is a view of the new clutch components before assembly.
Assembled, as shown below, the mechanics seems to work fairly well. I also had to relocate the reverse trip lever to a more optimum location.
After all the rework, I was dismayed to find that even the load of moving the swing weight was enough to cause the clutch faces to open and fully disengage. Obviously my focus on an easy engagement for the clutch missed the small amount of load that would cause the beveled surfaces to open. Here's how Version 2 looked.
So while the device may look cool, it has fallen well below my operating and reliability requirements as part of an automata project. So it is a sad day when I call it quits after investing a fair bit of time working on something, but it is clearly time to cut and run. I am now working an alternate mechanism design for my project. It was fun working on it, for a while anyway, until the frustration crept in.
Automata is a creative blend of my life interests , engineering, art and woodworking.