Oribotics [micro]

December 9, 2008 on 9:42 am | In Oribotics | Comments Off

  Oribot [micro] drawing

This project is an exploration into 3D printing. I’m using Shapeways.com for my printing. They have a good fast web service for 3D printing. Perfect for n00bs like myself as the forums are full of advice, the automated file system runs checks on your uploaded data an sends you back an email telling you what the problem is and where to find help to fix it. I must say just uploading a few files certainly teaches you something.

I modelled my [network] generation of oribots very small (32 x 32 x 43mm). The idea is to print the form as a complete assembly, including working live hinges. The completed model requires a bit of finishing to protect it from UV light, and to make the surfaces smoother, but overall a great way to build robots that might be very very difficult to make by hand.

Being an artist in this day and age is incredible. Visualisation and articulation are the keys in enabling work with collaborators, companies in the production of a work. You might be a painter but you buy your high quality paints, brushes and canvases from someone, at least there the communication is simpler, at least more refined by historical usage.  In technological works, or even non technological works, the artist, armed with their “idea” has to find the path between their vision and the available solutions. The incredible thing is the increased availability of information and complex services.

This image below shows the first prints I have produced. Unfortunately, I made an error in the model, and the hinges dont work, they fused during printing, but the overall, I’m impressed with its quality and strength.  I’ve requested that the shapeways production guys assess the live hinges in my model before printing this time. So hopefully in about a week I’ll have a new working model!

Oribot [micro] first prints

That’s an Australian 50cent coin, probably only useful as a reference if you are an Aussie, a ruler is probably better internationally :) The small one on the right is 43mm high (about 1.7 inches). The image is darkened to enhance the white details.

Functioning prototypes from the 3D printer.

This video (apologies for the low production values) briefly explains and shows the two sets of prototypes that were produced. The second prototype had correct clearances of between 0.3 and 0.5mm for the functioning printed hinges. Although the hinge rods at 1mm in diameter are too small to be strong enough for production. I have decided it is a broken micro-oribot embryo, an expression of the fragility of this work.

Microbot prototype poster image

Micro Fold Mould

December 9, 2008 on 9:04 am | In Oribotics, Robo Tech | Comments Off

I’ve been toying with this idea for some time during my residency. The idea is to make a mould that can be used to press, or emboss, a crease pattern into a sheet of paper. The crease pattern I am using is possible to fold by hand, but requires many marks that affect the perfection of the folded form. I should note that any imperfection will soon result in a disfigured oribot. I consider this analogous to DNA folding. DNA proteins fold at an astonishingly fast pace, and one tiny error in the folding can result in serious disease in the life form. The same occurs with my oribotics, in that a small crease out of place will cause the damaged area to deteriorate more rapidly than an perfect area, like a disease, eventually requiring replacement (surgery) on the robot.

But I digress into conceptual artifacts… back to the point at hand.

The form I am visualising is in two parts. The two parts are mates to each other, where one side is indented, the opposite side is outdented. See image below. The final form will have the mountains and valley folds appropriately inverted. The modelling was difficult enough to get this form to work properly, but I have an idea about how to approach the mountain/valley modelling.

Micro Fold Mould

This picture is of a 3D model of a very tiny mould, the crease pattern (the embossing area) itself only measures 59 x 39 mm, meaning that some folds are only 2-3mm long (tiny stuff!).

I’ve contacted embossing companies, even micro-embossing companies, and I’m sure its possible, but the complications arise around the use of many tons of pressure and machinery required to do this. I think the ideal form is made from metal, and uses heat to imprint the creases onto a suitable material, in my case a paper thin synthetic material, or perhaps simply a very thin strong piece of paper.

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