An Update on the HyperRail

An Update on the HyperRail

The last post was about getting the HyperRail working with basic code. I have now improved the coding to give the user more control. The user can now control RPM and I have added some other functions.

Power Pulse Controllers

Power Pulse Controllers

I have been putting together three power pulse controllers. One has already been sent out, but two more are in production. Here is a quick overview of the system specs and parts. 

HyperRails are Working!

HyperRails are Working!

I have gotten the first prototype of the HyperRails working. I will be discussing the parts and set

Modeling at HyperRail Speed!

Modeling at HyperRail Speed!

We have decided to go with the 20x40mm V-Slot aluminum extrusion for the rail version of the hyperspectral mount. It balances strength, function, and price. Here is an update of the CAD model of the design.

Make it Slide!

After having the first prototype of the hyperspectral camera rotating mount, it was time to start the rail version. We have aluminum extrusion in the lab, but I still need to design the carriage that will carry the camera. One important factor in this design is that it has to be modular, meaning that we have to be able to make it as small or big as needed. Having all this in mind, I set off in search for solutions that would allow me to put together this modular rail.

Low and slow

Why go slow? We need to take pictures at very slow speeds and at a continuous rate using a hyperspectral camera! With the old electronics board, this was not possible, but the new one works amazing!

3D Printing a Culvert Entrance

I've been working with Desiree D. Tullos to create a 3D printed culvert entrance. The designs are done and are about to be printed. These will help illustrate the flow of water in a real system. The designs were created to simulate an efficient and inefficient culvert.

Designing Base for Camera System

The post will describe the pole attachment that needs to be created in order to place the Hyperspectral camera on the tripod. Design considerations are expressed and ideas are developed from them to come up with a functional design.

Integrating Electronics With 3D Printed Parts

This blog post is an update on the state of the HyperPole. It shows a video in which it shows that electronics and 3D printed parts are now being assembled and tested. A major problem is pointed out in the video. 

3D Printed Hyperspectral Camera Mount

This blog post displays the first assembly of the 3D printed pieces along with the motor. It also describes the how the assembly is put together and their function as individual pieces. 

Hyperspectral Camera Pole Mount

This post is intended to show the initial designs and CAD renderings of the HyperPole project. It explains the pieces of the rotating mechanism and connection to other pieces.

Em50G Data Loss Solution

Losing data while performing field test is very inconvenient. The sensor cables connected to this data logger come out very easily and this causes data loss. I made a small clip that locks on the cable and rests on the sensor socket. This will prevent the wire from coming out. Here is the 3D model of the piece: 

Gripv13 By Manuel Lopez Modelo »

This grip will fit on most sensor tips. It is strong enough to keep clamp on the sensors but flexible to accommodate bigger sensor tips. Here is the actual piece on the Em50G. 

One concern with this solution is that the pieces might get lost since they are individual grips. The other concern is that while placing or removing the piece, the board might get damaged. Here is another solution that was proposed:

 

squeezev1 By Manuel Lopez Modelo »

This solution provides a more compact design because it's only one piece. This design has a strong grip on the cable by pressing it against the foam. Here is are images of the actual piece. This design takes a little more effort to put in because you have to press the top really hard to get the sidelocks to get in place. 

New Laser Cutter Lens

The laser cutter came with another lens that we were totally unaware of its existence. Why would such expensive machine be missing one of its main parts? Looking through an accessories box of the laser cutter, I came across a little box that contained something wrapped in white paper- it was the other lens! The lens that we were using would only cut when it was in the metal-cutting position, even though we were not cutting metals. This new lens can cut in the non-metal and metal positions. 

New lens 

The very first thing that I tested  was if it could cut in the non-metal-cutting position. After that, I proceeded to test cardboard, plexiglass, and foam.When cutting foam we were getting beveled cuts. This was the main reason we considered buying to new lens to get better cuts. 

 Circle and rectangle test cuts with new lens. Of each set, the left pieces were cut with the old lens and right pieces with new     lens.

We can observe that the new lens can cut straight down the foam without creating a bevel. This is exactly the type of quality we need and expected from such a laser cutter. With our old lens it was really hard trying to get a straight cut; we got pretty close but nothing compared to this new lens.

Rube Goldberg Project Box

Making this box is not as simple as I initially thought. One of the most time-consuming parts of this box is making the finger joints. After making the finger joints the rest of the process was very smooth. 

CAD rendering of the box in acrylic

CAD rendering of the box in acrylic

Finger joint design

Finger joint design

The CAD was the first thing that was done and then DXF files were exported to the laser cutter. The first prototype of the box was made out of cardboard to make sure all of the sides would fit perfectly- not too wiggly and not too tight. 

The DXF files are the surfaces sketches of each of the faces of the box. These files are the ones that are processed into the commands that the laser cutter uses to position the laser. Having the CAD finished makes it easy to produce these files because we just pull them off the faces of our designs. 

 

Cardboard prototype 

We also did our first tests etching on cardboard. The OPEnS logo was the design that we used for our testing and it came out very well. 

First cardboard etching test 

V84 of Soil Vapor Sampler

A few changes have been done to the Soil Vapor Sampler. The design has been flip upside down. This was done to accommodate the new cap. The angle at which the tubing came into the sampler was also modified. The hole is now directly extruded towards the center, this facilitates the insertion of the tubing. 

 New Vapor Sampler Cap  

 New Vapor Sampler Cap

 

This new cap goes on the bottom soil sampler. This is the piece that gets inserted into the ground first. 

Cross section of vapor sampler

Cross section of vapor sampler

The gray long tubes are the pathways where the tubing goes through. With the direct path, the tubes have no troubles going in. 

This is the model of a vapor sampler with all the pieces put together. The white piece is the microporous tubing that would go between every sampler and between the last sampler and the cap. 

Making Photo Booth for OPEnS Lab Projects

At the OPEnS lab we prototype many projects and need to document them. Pictures are essential to our reports and publications. In order to have the best quality pictures we decided to make a photo booth. Here is the CAD of our booth. 

First version of CAD

This photo booth is a light box, a tool to take professional looking photos. Our is a  DIY version of the ones we could buy. The idea is to have all of the openings covered with tissue paper and a light source on each side of the box. The paper will serve as a filter, giving the object inside an even lighting. Here is an example:

To take the CAD into the laser cutter I converted separate sides of the box into DXF files. These files are then processed by the laser cutter software and then loaded to the laser cutter. Here is what our photo booth looks like so far:

Some materials are still needed but it is almost done. 

Testing foam on Laser Cutter & Making Foam Inserts for Tools

The foam finally arrived and we have started to experiment with it. I cut various small 10 x 10 mm squares at different power levels, speeds and heights to determine our best settings. The settings that I observed were cutting the best: Power 17, Speed 23 and Height 3315.9mm. 

 

Sample cuts on foam 

After doing some testing I intended to  cut the foam inserts for the drawers. When loading the DXF file from Fusion360 on to MetalCut, the file appeared to be changed. There were some extra lines that were not supposed to be there. After analyzing the MetalCut file, I noticed that the program was making some discontinuities in the design outlines and created lines towards the center to compensate for it. I believe it was doing this because the file had some sharp edges and I think it doesn't precess these edges very well. 

The Fusion360 design is being fixed. Only some pieces seemed to be affected by these sharp edges. After all the changes have been made, the cutting process should go smoothly. 

Using the Laser Cutter to Make a 3D Model

We took a 3D model of an Icosahedron and used 123D Make to create a 3D-laser cutter version. 

CAD Model

3D Model

We can now show demonstrate one of the uses for the laser cutter. This could be useful when someone needs to make a 3D model of a topographic map. This is also considerably faster than 3D printing this piece.