Post Race following on from the PDP

Overall the day was successful, even though we had a few errors when competing the course, we were still able to finish with a respectable time of 1:42 seconds, and after weighting the car at 400g, we are now able to work out the approximate speed it was doing.

As the track was 10 metres long, and the car was able to compete this in 102 seconds, this means that the average speeds of the vehicle was 10/102 = 0.1 m/s, which is very slow unfortunately. Although the weight had been reduced using lighter materials, and less components, the car was still slower than expected. I believe this was due to two problems we encountered, this first being the wheel at the front of the vehicle. The silicon glue used to attach the wheels to the holder may have caused some of the balls to have locked up since the original testing. The second area for concern were the sensors themselves, we believe that they may have been slightly to far apart when going round this particular track. In the tests on tracks we had set up, the sensors did work, this may have been because the turns on the final track were sharper than originally thought.

On the plus side the car did was able to follow the follow the line and was even able to make it around its sufficient time. It was great to see the code still working properly, to stop the car when it had reached the black finish line, which aloud us to remove the battery and egg with ease.

Overall I have enjoyed this project and the fact is has expanded my knowledge on coding, electronics and mechanical aspects has been great. I now look forward to my technical report and researching into areas of great interest for myself will help me to further understand a wide variety of different manufacturing techniques, past what I have already gained this term.

 

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#Big Ideas Celebrated

Today was great, 2 nominations for awards for our micro business Blank Canvas!

This competition celebrates the work done by 16-25 year old students, showcasing the best entrepreneurial talent. From Cardiff Metropolitans’ very own CSAD, there were 3 candidates that reached the final from a long list of entries, including our very own blank canvas. The day consisted of: a variety of open talks and key note lectures from local business people and entrepreneur celebrities, an exhibition of each finalists work, judging, competitions, award and prizes.

As I was the only one from Blank Canvas who could attend the event, it was up to me to show the best qualities of our business and where it was heading. Unfortunately I did not have everything on hand, like a model or business plan; but using our presentation and team t-shirt, I was able to pull off a very successful day that ended in our business getting nominated for two awards: Most innovative business idea and best presentation. This was very interesting to watch, as most of the award, the nominees were put up on the board and the audience would help by voting for their favourite, as you can see below, our business was came 3rd and 4th in these categories. I was so grateful to be a part of the final, let alone these awards:

So to summarise the field module “Mind Your Own Business” opened up a field of opportunity for myself and my group and I have learned much over the course of this project.

By the end of the day I had accumulated a lot of good contacts, for if or when I start my own business one day. Thanks to Big Ideas Celebrated for a fun and beneficial day.

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PDP for RTS Line Tracking Car

This is the PDP for the RTS electronic line tracking car. First things first, was to finalise the electronics and the coding that will drive the car forward. At first, we believed light sensors would be a good way to read the black line. This is the code and electronic set up we had for this operation:

pdp1

int LDR = 0;    
int LDRValue = 0;    
int light_sensitivity = 100;  
int LDR2 = 1;
int LDRValue2 = 1;
int LDR3 = 2;
int LDRValue3 = 2;
void setup()
  { Serial.begin(9600);         
    pinMode(13, OUTPUT);    
  }
void loop()
  {    LDRValue = analogRead(LDR);     Serial.println(LDRValue);      
    delay(50);       
    if (LDRValue < light_sensitivity)
      {        digitalWrite(13, HIGH);
}
    else
 {        digitalWrite(13, LOW);
    }
    LDRValue2 = analogRead(LDR2);    Serial.println(LDRValue2);      
delay(50);      
    if (LDRValue2 < light_sensitivity)
      {        digitalWrite(13, HIGH);
}
    else
      {        digitalWrite(13, LOW);
}
      {    LDRValue3 = analogRead(LDR3);  Serial.println(LDRValue3);    
delay(50);      
    if (LDRValue3 < light_sensitivity)
      { digitalWrite(13, HIGH);
  }
    else
      {        digitalWrite(13, LOW);
} } }

This was met with troubling results as there was no real value that could we could define that would allow for either on or off. This is because of the Analog nature of the light sensors that can give you an infinite number of values. It was here we decided it was best to get IR sensors that work on a digital scale, so either on or off.

But before we move onto the next sensor, we next wanted to see how we can operate the motors provided, and see how we can power them efficiently. This was done using a few lines of coding and wiring both motors to a compact motor shield (L298n). The reason for the motor shield was to be able to dual run the two motor separately to allow for each one in turned to be turned off when needed.
void setup() ;pdp 2
  pinMode(6, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(7, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(8, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(9, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(10, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(4, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(5, OUTPUT);
  }
void loop() {
 digitalWrite(6,HIGH);
 digitalWrite(5,LOW);
 analogWrite(7,255);
 delay (100);
 digitalWrite(9,HIGH);
 digitalWrite(8,LOW);
 analogWrite(10,255);
 delay (100);

The next stage of this process was to code and wire up the new IR sensors, for this project we chose to use the tcrt5000 IR line tracking sensors. This was because; they are digital based so will be able to quickly differentiate between white space and the black line and they can be efficiently coded so that the motors will run as they are needed to. Here is the code we have used to allow these to work:
int a=11,b=12;
void setup() {
  pinMode(a,INPUT);
  pinMode(2,OUTPUT);
  pinMode(3,OUTPUT);
  pinMode(b,INPUT);
  pinMode(4,OUTPUT);
  pinMode(5,OUTPUT);
  Serial.begin(9600);
  }
  void loop() {
    if((digitalRead(a)==HIGH)&&(digitalRead(b)==HIGH))
    {       digitalWrite(2,HIGH);
digitalWrite(3,LOW);
      digitalWrite(4,LOW);
      digitalWrite(5,HIGH);
      Serial.println(“FORWARD”);
      delay(1);      }
      else if((digitalRead(a)==LOW)&&(digitalRead(b)==HIGH))
      {        digitalWrite(2,LOW);
        digitalWrite(3,HIGH);
        digitalWrite(4,LOW);
        digitalWrite(5,HIGH);
        Serial.println(“LEFT”);
        delay(1);         }
  else if((digitalRead(a)==HIGH)&&(digitalRead(b)==LOW))
        {          digitalWrite(2,HIGH);
          digitalWrite(3,LOW);
          digitalWrite(4,HIGH);
          digitalWrite(5,LOW);
          Serial.println(“RIGHT”);delay(1);        }  }

Using this code allowed us to record the data coming from the IR sensors. The serial monitor showed us that when both sensors were detecting white space, the motors would go forward. When the left is detecting black space then the car would turn left and vice-versa for the right-hand side.

pdp 3

Before moving on we wanted to see what sort of range the IR sensors had a how far from the ground we could place them. From this I could get up to 1.5cm working perfectly, and up to 2cm would still have enough accuracy.

The final stages of the electronics was to combine the two sets of codes and wire up the components up correctly. This is the result after running a series of tests:
int a=11,b=12;pdp 4
void setup() {
  pinMode(6, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(7, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(8, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(9, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(10, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(a, INPUT);
  pinMode(2, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(3, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(b, INPUT);
  pinMode(4, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(5, OUTPUT);
  Serial.begin(9600); }

void loop() {  if((digitalRead(a)==HIGH)&&(digitalRead(b)==HIGH))  {
      digitalWrite(2,HIGH);
      digitalWrite(3,LOW);
      digitalWrite(4,LOW);
      digitalWrite(5,HIGH);
      Serial.println(“FORWARD”);
      delay(1);
      digitalWrite(6,HIGH);
      digitalWrite(5,LOW);
      analogWrite(7,200);
      delay (10);
      digitalWrite(9,HIGH);
      digitalWrite(8,LOW);
      analogWrite(10,200);
      delay (10);      }

      else if((digitalRead(a)==LOW)&&(digitalRead(b)==HIGH)) {
        digitalWrite(2,LOW);
        digitalWrite(3,HIGH);
        digitalWrite(4,LOW);
        digitalWrite(5,HIGH);
        Serial.println(“LEFT”);
        delay(1);
        digitalWrite(6,LOW);
        digitalWrite(5,LOW);
        analogWrite(7,50);
        digitalWrite(9,HIGH); //
        digitalWrite(8,LOW);
        analogWrite(10,100);
        delay (10);        }

        else if((digitalRead(a)==HIGH)&&(digitalRead(b)==LOW))  {
          digitalWrite(2,HIGH);
          digitalWrite(3,LOW);
          digitalWrite(4,HIGH);
          digitalWrite(5,LOW);
          Serial.println(“RIGHT”);delay(1);
          digitalWrite(6,HIGH);
          digitalWrite(5,LOW);
          analogWrite(7,100);
          digitalWrite(9,LOW);
          digitalWrite(8,LOW);
          analogWrite(10,50);
          delay (10);          }

          else if((digitalRead(a)==LOW)&&(digitalRead(b)==LOW))  {
            digitalWrite(2,HIGH);
            digitalWrite(3,LOW);
            digitalWrite(4,LOW);
            digitalWrite(5,HIGH);
            Serial.println(“STOP”);
            delay(1);
            digitalWrite(6,LOW);
            digitalWrite(5,LOW);
            analogWrite(7,0);
            delay (10);
            digitalWrite(9,LOW);
            digitalWrite(8,LOW);
            analogWrite(10,0);
            delay (10);            }

When testing the code, we had originally found that the response time for the sensors to the motors was too slow and was causing the car motors to hesitate before stopping. This would have caused problems when running the car as it may have caused the car to carry on going over the black line. This is why the delay times were dramatically reduced from 500 down to 10. This gave the motors a much quicker reaction time to what the data the sensors were sending. Also, a section was added to the code that stops the motors turning if the sensors detect no IR feedback. This means that the motors won’t run until placed down on a surface.

As you can see from the image above the wiring meant we could power the car straight from the Arduino. This can be done using a mini bread board to supply a universal power output and grounding to all the components.

The final stages of this as to build the body for the car. For this we wanted to have a nice aesthetic quality so we used a model car and vacuum formed a chases.

pdp 5

We then cut out a base for this and drilled holes along the base for all of the components to sit in:

pdp 10As you can see from the image above, we had originally put the IR sensors on top of the base. But after our initial tests we found that it was best to secure them underneath so that the sensors could be closer the surface; therefore, more accurate.
On the front you can see a 360-degree bovine style wheel, we used this so that all the driving force from the back of the car was not dampened or stopped by any bulky wheels.

pdp 7

The images above show different sets of wheels we tried out during the testing phase, and we found the large the wheel the better the car performed. Therefore, we did not use any gears of cogs as we believed the torque provided by the large wheels was enough for our car to complete a 10m track in under 5 minutes. We then decided than using thicker wheels would be best, and attached an elastic band to the double thickness wheels to provide more grip to a surface. Not using any extra gears also saved on weight, meaning the car would go faster anyway.

pdp 11

Finally, where will the egg go? Due to our simplistic design, we could leave enough space at the rear of the car for the egg to simply sit in underneath the chases.

Here is the final car:

pdp 8

As you can see from this image the egg comfortable sits at the rear of the car. This also provides a small amount of extra weight at the rear, which in this instance is good at providing extra traction to the wheels.

This project has been very beneficial as it has improved my coding abilities and given me the opportunity to work on all the problems that arose during the building stages of the car. The only thing left now is to run the car in the race at the end of this week and after testing the car, with a fresh battery, we believe it will be able to complete the course under the five minutes provided. I am very pleased with how the car has been finished: the aesthetic, the coding, the layout of the electronics and its capability to stay on the black line have all be worked through; giving us, what we believe, to be a great outcome for this project. If certain problems hadn’t caused us to lose time; the only improvements I would make would be to make it more compact, possibly use a smaller Arduino board and to add some small LED’s to the car to give a more professional finish. If we weren’t restricted by the brief to only use a single 9 Volt battery, we could also add extra power to the car to improve the driving force and therefore increase its speed and the duration at which it can run for.

Video to be added when assessment has been complete.

Pre and Post Presentation

After submitting my CAD for CNC, here is the final result…

gg cnc 3

As you can see the model was cut out in two halves. This had to be done so that the exterior of the glue-gun was completely shown, including all details. Because of some minor difficulties with my files the trigger was not cut out, meaning I had to produce my own. Shown on the right is the complete model; showing the rubber cover details, the trigger and the adaptor. Below is a photo of myself holding the glue-gun, from this you can see the scale and how it fits comfortably into a persons hand.

gg cnc hold 3

If i were to improve on this model, I would have made the handle slightly longer, so that it would fit be more comfortable for those people with larger hands. Other than that I am very pleased with result. As you can see the rubber pads do not interfere with the hand positioning, providing a more comfortable grip and looking at the image on the left, compared the CAD model (seen below in the small circle), there is plenty of room for the wiring to pass through and the glue stick to be inserted into the back. A3.1This was one of two presentation board I put together, to show full impact of my design. The writing reads:

“This design contains a minimal amount of components to increase manufacturing efficiency and reduce cost.”
“The adaptor that attaches to the nozzle provides small strips of glue to distributed at once.”
“It’s sleek and unique design allows for comfort and suitable grip when operating the gun.”

All of this I have elaborated on in my previous blog post. What was not mentioned before, was my new logo design, which I was able to attach to the glue-gun using Key-Shot rendering software and an illustration file I had created earlier. The logo itself was based on the contemporary aspect of this project, aiming for the modern student, or casual workshop users that wants a more minimal design.

A3.2

This second poster was used to shows the interior components and how well thy fit into my designs. It also shows the exterior details and describes the type of material used for the casing. The writing reads:

“The contemporary shape for this design allows all of the interior components to fit comfortably and securely.”
“With rubber caps over the screws, the provides both grip, when placed on a smooth surface and a clear aesthetic finish.”
“The injection moulded polypropylene material provides a person to choose different colours for the main body of the glue gun.”
 

Again this was all stated in m previous post. I was very pleased with research I did and it was great to the see that the polypropylene plastic could be moulded easily with different colours.

gg pres

Above is the final layout for my presentation, due to the formative nature of this project no mounting of our presentation boards was needed or asked for.

The feedback I got from Paul was well received, achieving a 2:1 borderline 1st grade. What let me down and stopped me from getting a 1st was the print quality of my posters. As you can see, when printed the quality of the renderings was considerably decreased so that the colours and the interior structure could not be so easily seen. If I were to re-do this presentation I would go to a professional print studio to get the printed renders at a higher standard.

Overall I am very pleased with the outcome of this project and the feedback I received. I was told it was a well thought out design with strong a strong aesthetic and good ergonomic features. At the end of this final day of the project, we were told we must follow the same process again, except this time, we will be give the components for a power drill. But more on that in that next week.

Ready for CNC!

Here is my final design for this glue-gun project.

This designs provides grip and comfortable ergonomics for all users. It sits the components in place, using minimal amounts of extra plastic for the interior structure. With this, only three screws are needed to keep the components in place, again saving on materials needs for this design.

The first addition i would like to draw attention to are the small rubber covers I have added to protect the screws when they are in place. Another reason for these pads is to provide friction when the glue-gun is laid down on smooth surface. This needed to be added as the plastic used for the casing would be too easily maneuvered on a surface, which may have caused it to be knocked off.

The next component i have added, is a small adapter that attaches to the nozzle. This addition allows for small, sellotape like strips, to be distributed. The reason for this is to stop those small balls of glue from forming when using the glue gun and saving and waste material that would form.

From my research I have altered the material used for the casing of the glue gun. Instead of using high density polystyrene, this glue gun will be made out of polypropylene. This is because polypropylene is much easier to injection mould, and allows for a multiple of colours to be mass-produced.

Correct CAD files!

Now moving onto the CNC machine, the first thing was to export the solidworks files correctly. This was done using a .stl file that converts the 3D shape into a large tessellation of itself. The different setting on the export defined how accurate the model could be, from course (standard) up to fine (more detailed). For this project only a course setting was needed, due to the small size and simplistic shape of my model. Not just to wait for the CNC to be done and to complete my presentation boards. More on the project next week.for stl

Week 2: If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.

What I mean by the title, is that I have revisited the brief and decided that there is no profitable reason to change the layout of the interior components we were supplied with. This is because I believe a good, contemporary design can be still be made without having to turn it into a pen-like gun. This means I can focus on the form around these components.

I have undertaken further research into the materials used and the ways they would be manufactured. Looking back at the brief, I saw that the plastic casing would be injection moulded. This means, the wall thickness must be consistent through the product as well as contain draft angles, where there would be sharp surfaces.  Using this manufacturing process, I mused include curved edges when connecting any surface. This will make the moulding process more efficient and will be able to product a higher quality product.

Fortunately, the parameters required to get the best finished on an injection molded product, help me to design a more contemporary based product. A modern-day design, as seen on other products, uses thin materials, and gets rid of sharp, awkward edges. This will also make my design more ergonomically friendly and aesthetically pleasing.

gg mat

The image above shows the different materials that the traditional glue gun consists of, this is also the materials used in the glue gun that the internal components are from. From this I can see what materials I will use when completing the rendered images for my submission.

These final images for this post, shows the final stages of my research. I was able to put the given CAD files onto a solidworks drawing and size up the internal components; allowing me to get a feel for the dimensions of this gun. The main section, where the glue is put in, melted and output, is approximately 92mm long meaning the main casing for this should be around 100mm to allow for any interior structures to be put in to the keep the interior components in place.