Friday, March 9, 2007

Project Update

Ok, So we havent been at this project for that long, but as always if your diligent you will have noticed that at every stage you can find something to fix...We did.
And what have we found in the first week of intensive design and research ?
well to make it easy Lets list them now,
  1. No matter how much you think you have looked, you havent found all the robot sites and companys out there.
  2. Some free cad programs are actually really good.
  3. Online machinging is expensive
  4. If you just design a body, people think its not a real robot.
  5. Domes for the head are going to be harder to get machined
  6. Extrusion designs, while cheap to mass produce, cost heaps for the tooling
  7. Mirroring parts saves money in both tooling and production run number.
  8. Dont overlook The fastening systems for your parts, can you reach them to tighten them up? Are the screws strong enough? that sort of thing
  9. Dont over think the solutions, sometimes the first thing you think of is the best one to use, most times its not and you will wish you hadent started but dont be afraid to try the simple ideas first.
  10. Unless you plan to make minimum runs of over 500 uunits of each part, dont bother with the bigger companies, high overheads etc increase the tooling cost for extrusions and mouldings. So unless its a big order needed in a hurry, try CNC milling or home fabricatioon techniques first. ( unless you got a lot of money to waste)
  11. Dont overlook the thickness of the work, dont carve out so much that it weakens the shell beyond acceptable levels.
Well that just about cover's it. Now we have to do a basic head and wheel design. Then refine the whole lot with all the finnishing touches. Then a half size replica of the parts will be hand formed from wood and polystyrene this will be used to visualize the bot overall ,as well as to work out new part and add on designs like arms and new heads.
We have a lot to do and this project may never go in to full production. But if not we still make small numbers of hand made units in plastic for sale to hobbiest's and collectors.
We are going to try to get a few more people on board at a later date to help design and program the brain for a example robot. But as pointed out earlier. We are not trying to build a fully functional robot here. We are constructing a shell that can be repurposed to suit the end use.
Add a camera and remote control for a security robot.
Add an mp3 player and speakers for a boom box robot...arms and shotgun for a bomb disposel droid :P that sort of thing.
And the next stage will included a removeable system tray so redeployment as a new robot can be really easy, just unplug and slide out the tray and sensor pod, then slide in the new bench tested brains for a whole new robot function, switch the head for a new look, or take out the body sections to decrease the height for resuce work in confined space's

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