Cool Engineering

Info on some cool engineering projects

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

More student projects

The engineering students at La Trobe are always turning out interesting projects that I get to supervise. Here a a couple of videos of recent robots:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

3D printing - Veroboard Base

I've been using the UP! 3D printer for 2 weeks now and one of the common problems I've had along with other is warping of the corners for large prints. People have been using the paint, blue painters tape, kapton tape and other such ideas. I've tried the paint and blue 3M tape with mixed results and been a bit annoyed with the high maintainence.
It was then we stumbled across a really simple solution - veroboard. Veroboard is basically a PCB with lots of regularly placed holes. When you print the bottom layer goes into some of these holes and sets - keeping the model firmly anchored to the base.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Printing in 3D

Well one of the most exciting gadgets i've been using recently isn't the remote control watch (although that is pretty cool) but a 3D printer. The printer basically works by melting and extruding ABS plastic in a 3D pattern you have designed in some CAD software like Solidworks.
So far I've printed an assortment of servo brackets, a mounting assembly for my PhD research and a some hardware for Adam's CNC machine design.
For those curious the printer is this one:

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Student projects

Every year I've been teaching at uni I have been supervising some pretty interesting and cool final year student projects. In the past these have included submarines, walking robots, flying robots, intelligent taps and even some robosoccer action. This year promises the same with a number of UAV guidance and targetting systems, Rubik's cube solving robots, in-car CAN bus monitors and even a (minature) Segway!
For now though I have some videos from some of last years rad projects:

Peter's Quad rotor helicopter:

Duc's Insectabot:

Daniel, Evan and Ruskin's Soccerbot:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Soldering Tutorials

This is my third year of lecturing a microcontrollers subject at university. One of the labs not closely related to microcontrollers, but a useful skill for electronic engineers to have is soldering. This year I decided to go away from individual soldering demonstrations for each student at their desks and go for the YouTube approach.
The through-hole video shows a very standard through hole approach, whereas the SMT video shows a "Tack-and-hold" approach which uses only a matchstick as the specialised tool.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Followup ROV tests

Several modification have been made to the ROV to improve performance:
- The large buoyancy tanks have been removed and replaced with smaller strips of foam
- Some holes were cut in the bottom grate to improve water flow.
- Sinkers have been fitted to fine-tune the buoyancy
- 12V 3A SLA battery was fitted
The results were the ROV is now considerably faster - 14cm/second with a turn speed of 45 degrees per second.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

ROV Motor Shrouds

When using the ROV in the moat it was noticed that weed getting caught in the propellors was a significant issue. Also if the ROV gets too close to the wall the propellors can hit the wall stalling the motors - probably not too good for the motor controllers! (Current limiting was one feature I didn't explicitly build in for lack of microcontroller pins).
Below are some photos of the motor shrouds - they are not yet on the ROV as they need some minor alterations.
They were basically lengths of 100mm PVC pipe with slots cut out and then bent into position (when heated with a blowtorch). Besides that you can see what I had for dinner the previous night.