In the studio Arbonauts 2, the group continued with the work done in Arbonauts 1. Emily, Jess, and Kate L. worked on a project called Roboflower. Roboflower is a robotic flower whose petals open and shut. The flower would communicate the conditions inside of the Arboretum to the general public by opening, closing and changing colors. In this studio the group took the original design of the flower and tweaked it and changed things so that the design would be cleaner and move more smoothly. They also worked with 3D modeling software to create a moveable flower head. Kate, Emily and Jess had a lot of technical and other difficulties, but in the end came out with a working model of the roboflower that was good looking and functioned well.
A few of the changes the group made to the new flower include getting rid of the zip ties, changing the flower and petal shape, improving the stem, adding LEDS, making a box for the servos and designing a 3D printed holder for 3 small servos which gave the flower’s head mobility. The 3D printer proved to be extremely uncooperative, and so Emily had to use a layering technique to create the piece in which the servos would fit. It was a long process, but after a lot of super glue the group had a functioning piece that successfully held the servos and supported the head of the flower. Unfortunately, because of the piece was not 3D printed it didn't have smooth sides. This meant that it could not roll around, and therefore could not move the head of the flower. However, the fact that they even got the layered piece together was somewhat of a miracle.
By the end of the two week studio, the flower had been completely put together. It lit up, open and closed evenly, and was much more aesthetically pleasing than the first prototype. All members of the group were forced to go outside of their comfort zone by doing programming, and challenging 3D software. However, the final product showed that it was worth their effort. The coaches were very helpful, and the collaboration resulted in a very pleasing final product.
Last week was an adventure. The project took a whole new turn. We finalized our plans and came up with new ideas. We decided that we wanted to mount the servos near the head of the flower instead of at the base. We used a bunch of different 3d modeling tools to attempt to create the servo-holder. Eventually we ended up having David model the thing on Solid Works which was much easier for all of us. However, our technical difficulties with the holder did not end there. Sean tried to 3D print the piece overnight, but the plastic was not sufficient for our purposes and came out flimsy and unusable. We decided to make a new version of the piece out of horizontal layers that would create the full holder. We first tried with cardboard, but the scaling was off, so we tried again with hardboard and it looked nice after a bunch of experimentation with superglue, hot glue, and heat guns. Eventually it stuck together. We decided to lengthen the stem from the original model, to make everything more proportional. We spraypainted the stem a nice springy green that looks much more natural than the dull dark green that the stem was in the original model. We resized the 3 flowers so that they would be better proportioned to each other and would look more uniform.
Another huge part of what we were doing last week was figuring out the LEDs and fiber optics. We knew that we wanted the flower to light up, but we had to figure out where to put the fiber optics and how to attach the LEDs to the flower. We decided to use clear pentagons. We glued the LED strip to a clear plastic pentagon. We put clear plastic "clips" that helped to hold the fiber optics in place on each side of the pentagon. To do all this we had to figure out how many LEDs could go on each side of the pentagon and how many fiberoptics there would be on each leaf, as well as how many fiberoptics would have to attach to the LEDs. Eventually after a lot of hot glue and patience it ended up looking very clean and neat. The head of the flower attached nicely to the servo-holder, and when the 3d printed piece arrives it will look even nicer. Everything on the stem or most of it is spraypainted the same natural green.
It was awesome to see the whole flower working. We plugged in all the various wires and Sean programmed the arduino for the colors. It started opening and closing all three levels with 3 different colored lights and it looked really goood! I was very proud of how far the project had come from when I first saw it. It looks so much cleaner and more functional now. With the 3d pieces it will look even better and the next step is to have the stem/head of the flower move. Another step we could take is to hook the flower up to the sensors from the birdhouse project. That would be really cool but we didn't have time. We would continue with all that if we had more time but now it is time to continue to the next studio.
On Friday, we all worked really hard, we needed to put the flower together. In the morning we would work and in the afternoon we had presentation. Since most of the the design of the flower was completed on Thursday, we had a lot of wiring to do. We worked on separate parts. Kate worked on the lights and I worked on wiring the servos. Some of the problems with watering the servos was making sure that the power was even. We had to stronger more powerful wires that were connected to three smaller wires. Emily worked on putting the stem in and there were circles cut make the stem fit nicely into the hole in the box.
This project ended up turning out really well, it worked! Even though the sensor weren’t hooked up, the flower was able to change color and open and close. I enjoyed doing this project especially since I was working in a small group and we had the workshop to ourselves. I also learned a lot from this project like: how to use the laser cutter, the importance of exact measurements, how to use sketchup. In the end I think that our entire group was proud that three girls had made this.
Yesterday was not as productive as it could have been. In the morning I made the fiber optics longer. We also designed the pentagons and clips for the LEDs or at least for the big flower. This took a lot of measuring: the length of the clips; the length of the light itself so we knew how big to cut the box; and how thick the fiber optic is so we could make a hole for it to go through.
In the afternoon we cut out a 2D model of the flower base because the 3D printer wasn’t working and failed to print the flower base the way we wanted it to. We cut this 2D model out of cardboard and stacked and glued it together. This wasn’t exactly perfect because the slots to hold the servos wasn’t correct and the pieces were not aligned correctly.
By the end of yesterday we had finished one pentagon that had LEDs, wires, and clips. I designed the middle pentagon and then Saeed helped me cut new petals. These petals were a different from the ones we had been using because they are scaled in proportion the the big one. We also added cut the curved line off at the bottom so when the petals went up they would fit together nicely. We also got rid of slits that were not needed. We had to cut out more plastic pieces that would be put into the slits to make the triangle because the sizes of the medium and small flowers have changed. I started to put these together at the end of the day and finished in the morning.
Today when I got to Nuvu I finished putting in the plastic into the slit to create a triangle. I made sure all of them were glued down tightly. Emily and I cut and put the fiber optics into the slits and and adding fishing line. Kate worked on designing medium and small size clips as well as a small pentagon; we cut these out.
The pentagons are two pieces of plastic glued together with LEDs glued to the side depending on how many fiber optics are on the flower. The clips go over the LEDs and have holes so the fiber optic can go through.
We decided on a size for the stem and its diameter is shorter and it is taller than the first prototype we made weeks ago. We also changed the color of the stem to make it a brighter green. Since this stem is longer and thinner we are going to make some changes to how long the wires and strings are and how we attach it to the box, because the top of the box has a hole that was made for the size of the original pipe. We decided to spray paint the stem a brightish green.
We put together the flower base, this too was also painted green. The hard part about the flower base was finding glue that would stick, we started with super glue but that failed so we used hot glue and a hot blower so the glue would melt better. Towards the end of the day we started to put into the LED’s this was the hardest part because trying to glue them in was difficult. I started by hot gluing them while they were already threaded through the small plastic triangles but that failed so I took them out of the triangles and then re-threaded them later. It was still hard to fit all five fiber optics into the holes. After we put in all of the fiber optics in the medium size flower it didn’t go up, same with the bigger one but it went up better; we took some of the fiber optics out.
This morning started out by going out to Radio Shack to help the UV Camera group. We had to get SD cards and a card reader. Then David came and we started to design the base that would go underneath the head of the flower. The shape would look a lot similar to a tulip or a flower vase. Some problems we had with Solid Works were: you had to draw everything in 2D then turn them into 3D; using curved lines and edges; making the figure hollow; fitting all three servos in; making enough room inside, making a flat form for the servos. I learned about how frustrating design programs are; how important it is to measure things accurately and I know that David go annoyed with the program too.
The top would be open with enough room for the servos to be inserted and big enough to fit around the perimeter of the center of the flower (underneath). There would be screws holes at the top to attach this base to the flower. Inside the base there is are cut spaces where the servos can go; we plan to fit 3 servos inside. There is also a whole where wires will go through. We sent this to the 3D printer after lunch and it should be done by tomorrow late afternoon.
We spent most of the morning designing this flower base. During the lunch break I cut out the box bass that Kate and Emily had made last week, this took 2.5 days to design, it’s harder than you think. After lunch ended I started to take apart the old box that wasn’t aligned correctly because I thought that we needed the screws but this box was made to be glued together. As we lined up the box, the sides were about 2mm off so Sean helped me fix that in sketchup by subtracting 2mm; this process took a shorter time than I expected. I started to glue the box together this was hard because you really need two people to do it. One person held it and one person glued; Emily helped me with this part. We taped down the sides after we had glued them to keep them stuck together so the glue could dry. We had to attach the servos which involved sanding down the chip board to fit the servo and then screwing them in.