Wednesday, March 22, 2017

2017/03/22 - Preping for Production

This week I refined the 3D print clamp design so that it will be made from smaller components, as well as some other refinements. For one, the areas where the PVC rested used to be composed of seperate quarter smaller parts, which I simplified into a solid (half) circle that can be modifed in size to fit the PVC pipe covers. In addition, I removed the triangular segments that would go into the corresponding cleft, as this simplifies fitting and manufacture.

The image below will give and idea what the assembly will look like. The brown parts are the wooden cross beams, the white segments are the pvc pipes covers (which will go over the rest of the wood sections-not just the area shown), the round grey segments are the 3d Printed parts, and the floating parts are Erector parts that will represent the guide way supports (though I still have to design a way to connect it). Likewise, I intend to use other Erector parts to represent I beam that will be how the clamps will connect each other (which will be placed on the clamps' flange holes), but they are more difficult to replicate.

In addition, I contacted Dr. Youssefi to see if he could print out one or two of the clamps as a reference. Fortunately, He managed to manufacture them shortly after.

During spring break, I will make a few of the components (ex. the wooden beams) and further improve on my design (ex. a way to connect the guideway supports). I will also have to consider designing parts to substitute the erector parts if I can't obtain them in time.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

2017/03/15 - Clamping Down on a Design

This week I attempted to finalize the design and dimensions for our architect's model.

Firstly, I decided that we should make our design be 1/12 scale as it the long nature of the structure would make the parts require far too much material.

Then, I made the cross-sectional dimensions of the wooden beams, followed by the dimensions that the attached clamps will have. I also looked into using erector parts which would represent I beams and the modular solar rack base. The basic design is shown below, with the 3d printed and erector parts being highlighted blue. In addition, for large portions, pvc pipes will be used as sleeves to show a smooth look and potentially additional support.

Next was designing the clamp itself. This is one solid part, but as pointed out by a teammate it is too large to be reasonably printed (being over 10 inches long).

Currently, I am redesigning the clamp to be composed of multiple smaller pieces, while still taking advantage of the core idea. Likewise, I will need to find an easy way to attach the guide way.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

2017/03/08 - Skype around the World

This week, There were two main events:

On Wednesday night, I participated in a skype call with Ron Swenson, Kathlyn Garces, and Andries Louw (who was in South Africa). I shared my documents and designs and we further discussed these and other aspects very thoroughly. Also, Andries showed us a new support structure design, and we intend to see if we can use it.

The other event was an essay for the ME 195 course. The whole prompt was based on the project, and how applying challenges applying it to other countries. Unfortunately, researching and writing for it took up a lot of my time, preventing me from progressing on the project itself.

In addition, I tried seeing if I could refine my project to facilitate production as the maker fair event is coming up soon. This turned out to be more complicated then I expected, so will to discus this further with my groupmates

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

2017/03/01 - The First Spring Presentation

This week, my primary objective was to work on the "Current Status of Design" portion of the presentation. For it I recompiled the different designs our group made through the semester, including the original sketches, the "cat's eye" design, and the sleeve/clamp configuration, and will also talk about the potential solar panels.

In addition, I also made a newer version of the sleeve/clamp design: it uses a "truss clamp" to save weight, an extruded upper segment for the horizontal beam with holes in it that can allow for modular attachments, and cleaner sleeves.

It is also important to mention that I also went to the meeting with Eric Rosenfeld on Saturday. There he explained his research for solar panels (most notably the snap rack system) and we in turn explained our potential designs. We brainstormed about ways to attach the panels, and I suggested using a series of altering cables to hold up the panels, which he seemed to like.


2D Outline of Truss Clamp Design

3D Representation of Truss Clamp (with upper guide way beam supports)

Clamp Assembly.png
Semi Translucent Representation of Truss Clamp (with full guide way brackets)

Close up of the Clamp Connection (note the triangular segments to hold adjacent sleeves)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

2017/02/22 - A New Consideration

During the last session, we learned that we would need to integrate Solar panels into our design as a large "full roof" canopy similar to the one shown below.

Before this, I had assumed that the Solar panels would have been installed directly above the guide ways, which will make a significant change in my assumptions (requiring the final design to also be able to hold perpendicular support beams in addition to the guide way and pod cars).

We were told to contact Eric Rosenfeld about the solar panel mountings, and he gave me his report from last semester. Also, I tried emailing my other group members for the meeting, but only one responded, so I will have to confirm with them tomorrow.

Lastly, I made a new design to try to get it closer to the original palm tree design:
This design features a horizontal x-beam in addition to the standard vertical one. It uses a series of sleeves to give it a smooth look and has a version of my 3 part clamp to fix the beams. The portions sticking on top is meant to have a series of holes that can be used to fix modular mountings (similar to mechano/erector toys) in the most effective way for the solar panel at any given location. I have difficulty integrating the triangular central hole though, as it will ether be too small to notice or interfere with the strength of the whole system

That being said, I suspect that the "cat's eye" design would work better if the solar canopy is in a curved shape (as in the photo, but the T would also work well if the canopy is meant to self adjust or if it is a flat array. In any case, I find it a little odd that we were asked originally to try to make the palm tree design as it will be hidden by the full roof canopy and will look very different from the example that the client saw.

I also want to note that I reattempted to contact Andries, during the February 15 meeting, but he has not yet responed.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

2017/02/15 - Sketches and Designs

The first task I did for this week was writing an email to Andries asking if he could make a blueprint for the Stub column that Vanderbend could manufacture for us (using 1/8 inch sheet metal and some approximate external dimensions). He hasn't answered yet, so I may need to retry to contact him this week.

Like wise, we were tasked with designing the support structures. I made some rough sketches in the class section about a potential clamp design (involving one upper and two side parts - show at the lower left) and support configurations. Of the support designs, the most interesting one made would be the have to be the one in the sketch at the lower right. The way it works is that at the top, one beam or simple CFT (concrete filled tube) is held at the top of the column (preventing vertical motion), while there are two beams/CFTs that each an rest one end on opposite vertical sides of the column (preventing horizontal motion). The upper beam/CFT and the lower beams/CFTs would be able distribute the load among each other, while also using their weights to create a squeezing effect on the Column, allowing them to remain firmly attached without need of making holes (and consequently weak points) in the column, though they still require a would a system of custom clamps.

Later in the week I made some accurately scaled variations of it in SOLIDWORKS,
which can be seen below. If any of the designs are selected, I will work next week to design some clamping mechanisms would be compatible with it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

2017/02/08 - New Objectives

This week I focused mainly on gathering information about how our group should proceed for the spring semester.

I had written down many questions to ask Andries about his x-beam design before meeting meeting, and he did answer most of them and pointed out several features not explicitly shown in the blueprints.

Afterwards I discussed with my group-mates and with Mr. Swenson and Dr. Furman about what we should do for the deliverable. Although my group and I were originally expecting to do a medium T-shaped prototype, we later learned that a clients wants to build a round and curved Y-shaped version. In addition Andries said that we should actually do a smaller model to showcase the final look (similar to an architect's model) with working cars and a full scale column "stub" to show the technology behind it. This changes the plan dramatically, but likely will make things a lot simpler for our group.

At home, I began experimenting with a few of the possible configurations of how to make the Y shape configuration while still using the x-beams for the top portion. Unfortunately, the very linear nature of the beams makes this trickier than expected, as even with a masking cover there isn't much room for the upper gap, unless we use two branching bars which could be vulnerable to break at the joint.