I’ve been working on combining a vacuum former and a CNC. The goal is that the machine can mill the buck, form the plastic shell, and then mill the shell — all in one. The hope is that some interesting parts can be created with the machine.
I’m still in early stages and the rig is basically a Frankenstein build of various kits, but I think it’s starting to go somewhere.
Image by Tom Igoe
I worked on a clock project with Tom Igoe a few months ago. It was an example for a class we were teaching — he worked on the insides, I worked on the outsides. We ended up calling the project the What Not To Do Clock because of all of the missteps we made, but in the end it didn’t turn out too bad. I’m particularly happy that we made a button that “turned on/off” Daylight Savings Time.
“This project is a tabletop clock, designed as a production example for our Tangible Interaction class. We made it to demonstrate how to make a housing for an electronic device with tangible controls from a single block of wood. There are a number of mistakes we made along the way, so we’ve been lovingly referring to it as the “what not to do” clock.”
My latest tin can toy is based on Galactus. The main feature are the antennas on the side of the helmet. And the parts that connect the antenna fins to the head turned out to be the trickiest pieces. I made a jig for the mill so I could slot the aluminum. Then I turned them to the correct size on the lathe.
Finally got my 4 bar linkage “Block Pusher” proof of concept working.
Linkages are hard. I think they are powerful mechanisms, I just find them difficult to visualize and time consuming to iterate. I’ve been thinking about a device that could turn and push a small wooden block over and over again, and I fear a four bar linkage may be the answer.
I saw a great video from Disney Research on creating animated mechanical characters. Their software appears to be proprietary, but it was a great starting point. Then I found an incredibly useful 4 bar linkage simulator from Mechanical Expressions. Thanks to this simulator, I quickly dialed in the desired motion and got my linkage dimensions.
Drew up some designs.
And milled some parts.
The first prototype is a hand cranked 4 bar linkage built from aluminum and delrin parts. Linkages need to be built well in order to operate correctly. There can’t be too much slop in the mechanism and precision counts. Hopefully, the second prototype will actually move a block around.