Cool Engineering

Info on some cool engineering projects

Monday, August 27, 2007

La Trobe Open Day 2007

Yesterday was the Open day at La Trobe Uni, which though I'm not a student at any more I took a very active part. I gave two presentations regarding electronic engineering, which can be found here, and had on display the UAV and the new ROV project. Some of the people coming around looking at the ROV asked where we purchased it from or had it fabricated which I took as a huge compliment and was able to tell them I built it myself from the ground up. It was also really great, though tiring to talk to potential students and find out some of the things they were interested in. Several were really enthralled and interested in robotics, mirroring my own recollection of when I attended open day in their shoes in 2001. I remember I questioned one of the guys about creating a robot-wars style project for the final year project - to which he replied "it's possible, but the students probably wouldn't want to see a years work cut to pieces in a matter of minutes".

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Vertical Thruster Mount

The vertical thruster mount is now completed. This mount holds the downward pointed thruster in position which will allow the ROV to dive and surface. The thruster mount consists of 6 different PVC components, which are all cemented together. Apart from securely holding the motor and directing water flow, this mount serves to stabilize the main fuselage against the base - ensuring it remains both centred and level.
The stages of assembly can be viewed here.

Cleaning off PVC cement

One issue I have come across in making the ROV look especially pretty is excess PVC cement. It is a pain to remove, doesn't paint over well (in yellow at least) and runs everywhere when liquid. I know there are some PVC cements available that are a little more friendly to work with - but I don't currently have them.
One quick method I have come across (though experimentation) was using a wire brush attachment on a dremel like tool - it removes the PVC cement rather quickly - though it does expose a rather interesting property of the cement. When bonding the cement eats into the PVC. When the cement is removed it leaves small pits/valleys where it has eaten into the PVC. Following this up with some sanding before painting is highly recommended.
video

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Best Thesis

One minor update on the UAV project - Wade and I won best final year engineering thesis (this comes about 6 months after the project is all handed in and finished).
I have updated the UAV site with both the thesis and project plan.
UAV Site