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.

Oribotics [de]

November 12, 2008 on 3:46 pm | In Oribotics, Robo Tech | Comments Off

I’m currently an artist in residence in Germany, in small village, living in a Künstlerdorf (translates directly artists-town). One of my projects here is to create a new oribot. I was inspired by a member of the public at ArtBots who reminded me of an idea I once had; to make an oribotic flower that has multiple levels within the blossom. So it seems pretty easy while thinking about it, glass of beer in hand. When you actually set about to make a 3d fractally recursive piece of moving art, then you have to take a few steps back and think about it a while.

Well I’ve only been thinking about this for the past few days. Its built on the oribotics [network] design.  The crease pattern is called WB75 (super name I know), from its 75% scale reduction in its modular waterbomb crease pattern. I’m still very much in love with the aesthetic qualities of the WB75, and I like the idea of extending the genus of this particular species.  See these videos (made with Blender) of my visualisations of the mechanics. The crease pattern isn’t there, I have not discovered a way to realistically fold the membrane in 3d software, but I have recently upped my skills in building these mechanical models, thanks to my attendance at the Blender conference in Amsterdam a few weeks back.

The colours are to help distinguish different parts, not an aesthetic choice.

oribotics [de] prototype
Oribotic [de] virtual prototype - full

oribotics [de] prototype
Oribotic [de] virtual prototype - detail 

Prototype waterbomb flower

July 24, 2007 on 9:07 am | In Oribotics, Robo Tech | No Comments

In this video you can see the prototype oribot, handmade mechanics, being actuated through the firgelli micro linear actuator.

VHB 9473

July 20, 2007 on 9:32 am | In Oribotics, Robo Tech | No Comments

VHB 9473oh boy, I just got some super sticky tape from the US. Its called VHB (Very High Bond) tape made by 3M. Varieties of this tape is so strong its used in aircraft and buildings. Kind of amazing to think that sticky tape has become one of the strongest bonding agents. Well its not just sticky tape. Anyway I wrote to 3M and they advised me that the tape I need is the VHB 9473 tape, its 0.25mm thick, and is double sided and bonds aluminium, stainless steel, and plastics together. It takes a few days for the bond to acquire full strength. I can wait to try it out. Its kind of fun to think of doing away with screws in favour of this stuff!

I searched high and low for an Australian distributor of 3M tapes, talked to guys on the phone, only to find that I have to buy cartons to get a single roll, its too specialised and no one sells it by the roll, at least the VHB 9473… So I went to the US, and found CPC, rang through an order last Saturday morning, and it arrived today, very happy. I love making art, you get to try out so much cool stuff.

Folding Metal

July 9, 2007 on 10:05 pm | In Oribotics, Robo Tech | No Comments

I’m modelling the current generation of oribots, and have prototyped a new design and am going to make the parts from aluminium with some folds.

Ok. so I haven’t folded much metal before, and while I was modelling with my favorite modeller blender I was struck by the idea that metal has a thickness that needs to be considered when folding! Of course it does! My modelling prior to this point was all about aesthetics not about accurate measurements for laser cutting.

I’m trying to determine where to mark the fold on the aluminium so that the outside edge of the fold ends up at a precise location. By outside edge I mean if you have a sheet of paper on the table, and you make a valley (concave) fold then the outside egde is the bottom side of the paper.

So how do you calculate the radius of a fold (or bend radius)??? Well thanks to this Sheet Metal Bending Calculator I found some answers, which I am yet to test…

The following are my illustrations to help educate my train of thought on the matter.

I’m going to use the following values calculated using the Sheet Metal Bending Calculator.

1mm Aluminium
bend radius 1.591mm
outer radius 2.566mm
length of fold 4.037mm
length before 90º outside egde of fold 2.566mm (same as outer radius)

Measurements for folding 1mm aluminum

2mm Aluminium
bend radius 5.132mm
outer radius 3.183mm
length of fold 8.061mm
length before 90º outside egde of fold 5.132mm (same as outer radius)

Measurements for folding 1mm aluminum


July 26, 2005 on 8:55 pm | In Robo Tech | 3 Comments

I’ve been searching for a technique to bond fabric and plastics. Why? The most recent oribot prototypes have been made with plastic and fabric laminates. Basically the crease pattern is cut out of thin plastic with a gap at the creases to allow for folding, and then sandwiched between two layers of fabric. The result is a highly flexible and durable oribot, unlike the original paper bots which tended to ‘wilt’ in time (a fact which I liked as it added to the fragility of the work - but technically I was not happy, as I think a bot should be strong enough to perform its actions).

These guys look like they have what I’m after, according to them it remains extremely pliable and strong even as the materials bend and deform - we’ll I can certainly put that to the test.


Folding Robot project

July 12, 2005 on 10:11 am | In Robo Tech | No Comments

While googling around on the subject of origami hinges, I came across this project that developed (well almost) a walking origami robot. The concept seems sound enough, but the interesting thing is their approach in using servo motors as actuators for folding. I have had similar ideas, to use tiny tiny mobile phone motors, which I soon discovered come in a minimum order of 2000 units - a few to many - and they supply to large companies. I think a smaller cylindrical motor would actually work very well. I’m keeping this for a later evolution. I’ve decided I really like the simplicity of the current system using wires to create tension. And at the moment, the thought of mounting tiny motors on each joint is a bit too daunting - not to mention the extended prototyping period required…

Anyway after that rant, here is the project.


Muscle wire on hold

June 30, 2005 on 11:54 am | In Robo Tech | No Comments

Well, I’ve exhausted the ideas I have for muscle wire right now. It can contract up to 5% of its original length, and I’ve tried multiple ways of attaching the muscle wire to a basic fold. Increasing the leverage, and it still only yields about 40 degrees of movement. This is not satisfactory. I am shifting to a more fundamental aspect of the project, which is design of the flower bots.

Though it must be noted that this avenue of exploration is very valuable, as the idea of muscle like actuation of folds is central to the future idea of pure oribotics. I hope some technology will emerge in the not too distant future to aid this aspect of the design. But for now the muscle wire exploration is on hold.

We really need muscle paper ^_^ Paper that folds you!

One tiny step forward

June 28, 2005 on 1:58 am | In Robo Tech | No Comments

I’ve been plugging away at this idea to replace the motors used in oribotics with SMA - Shape Memory Actuators - otherwise known as BIO METAL. It’s been about 5 days work just to relearn basic electronics (all that high school education was useful), finding parts in Akihabara, and then inventing a mechanism which could actually perform the action of folding.

Well, after so many days of pure research and scribbling on paper, the first successful experiment bore fruit. A tiny folding mechanism can be activated by the touch of a button. It’s very primitive, only unfolds, and actually doesnt work well enough for production, but at least I can see a way forward. The next steps are to improve the mechanism. When I get something worthwhile showing, I’ll make a small video and post it.

The beautiful thing is that I can see it working, and if the technique can be refined, it would make oribotics truly beautiful, and one tiny step closer to the dreams of pure oribotic paper.

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