Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Week 33: Solar Panel Rack & Half-Scale Team Request

Short post this week. Refer to the group blog this week for general information on what's being done.

More details on the solar panel build will be posted next week, after work has taken place.

The half-scale team approached me to help create a physical barrier affixed to each end of the track to prevent the bogie from driving off the track in case anything happens. The plan is to use spare diamondplate and bolt it to the frame at the end of each track. This will require drills, plenty of screws and nuts and washers, and plenty of time as well.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Week 32: Past Paseo

Paseo Public Prototyping was a relative success. This week's group post contains all relevant information.

Click here to go to this week's group post.

Below is the same presentation as the one in the group post, but with additional slides appended.


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Week 31: Crunch Time

The Paseo Public Prototyping Challenge is almost here, with only several days left. According to the other teams, there is still work to be done at this point. Testing of the bogie on the new track appears to have been successful, which indicates that additional new pieces of track may not be needed. The build of the solar panels appears to be proceeding well, with the ribs and tabs fitting well enough.

There have not been any requests for extra hands or aid from any of the other teams, but with reports of recent progress, I feel that there is no need to worry. What will be shown at the Paseo challenge will not be the most refined version that the small scale team has to offer, but it should be serviceable and provide a base from which to move forward towards MakerFaire.

More detailed investigation will need to be made into the state of the aged and donated tools around the shop, but many of them appear to be broken beyond repair, are missing parts that cannot be found, do not have the requisite associated items, need new parts, or just do not work well.

Click here to go to the track improvement week 3 post for some basic investigation into shop tool issues.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Week 30: Paseo Approaches

The Paseo Public Prototyping Challenge is coming soon, in approximately 1.5 weeks. There is still work to be done at this point. This includes testing on the new loop sections that have been built, testing the new code on the new 3-D printed bogies, and the build of the solar panels.

There are not many updates to provide this week. No other teams have requested aid to date, so the assumption is that things are proceeding smoothly towards completion in time for the Paseo challenge. Investigation has been made into the state of some tools around the shop, but many of them appear to be broken beyond repair or are missing parts that cannot be found.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Week 29: Issues At Large

The Paseo Public Prototyping Challenge is coming soon, in approximately 2.5 weeks. There is still work to be done at this point. This includes testing on the new loop sections that have been built, testing the new code on the new 3-D printed bogies, and the build of the solar panels.

I am personally dealing with the loss of a family member who passed away a few days ago. Fortunately, I have thus far ensured any work required of me and the track fabrication team has been completed as early as possible, so the hope is that there are no issues that crop up that require my immediate attention. Unfortunately, with the timing as things are, problems showing up would not be unexpected, but the ideal is that things go smoothly.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Week 28: Looking Forward

The Paseo Public Prototyping Challenge is coming soon, in approximately 3.5 weeks. There is still work to be done, but until other teams share their concerns and estimates, knowing how much there is still to do will be difficult to determine.

In the meantime, several tasks beyond the original scope of the track fabrication and process development will be investigated, but the degree of investigation will depend mainly upon time and material availability. Any results or conclusions found will be documented, but there are no guarantees for the production of any devices or processes theorized.

Some things that may be investigated are:
・Variable-radius bender
・Variable-radius measuring tool
・Spartan Superway Shop machine restoration

See this week's post for more general information.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Week 27: Immediate Fabrication Requests Complete, On To Future Actions

As per the name of this week's post, the immediate fabrication request submitted to the track fabrication and process development team by the solar team and track improvement team has been completed. The corners were completed and delivered two weeks ago, on February 22nd, and the solar panel ribs and tabs were completed March 06th, to be delivered on March 08th.

There have been no other requests for fabrication or support at this point. The details on the plan moving forward are explained more explicitly in this week's group post.

Fabrication of the bends required on the solar panel ribs and tabs appeared straightforward at first, but required precision for decent replication. Specifically, bending the edges of the rib inward to allow for flush attachment to the frame required a sharp bend, which placed great stress at one point on the material. The application of heat to the material via propane torch prior to bending appeared to ease the process and allow the material to deflect more without cracking, but was ultimately found to be unnecessary. Testing found that the bends could be made while the material was cold, but with a very small amount of error tolerable; over-bending the edge by even three or four degrees would crack the material, rendering the rib useless. However, honing in on the specific angle permitted by the material allowed fabrication to proceed quickly and in a mostly reliable fashion. Much of the bending process relied on the user's ability to identify when the material was about to be bent too far, which may present a hazard when attempting to hand off the task.

The first test bend, with a wooden block placed in a vise.

The wooden block showing insufficient strength to bend the aluminum.

Fabrication of an aluminum block to bend the material.

The aluminum block placed in the vise.

An example of stress fracture in the bend section of the aluminum rib.

A completed rib.

Tabs followed the same process, but did not include the center section like a rib.