Sunday, May 29, 2011

Blue Fox - Video and possible logo design

Here is a possible logo for Blue Fox. The final version will be animated. I tried really hard to avoid using blue and orange contrast... but come on! Something is called the blue fox. That can't not be blue and orange. Just saying...

Also, here is 2 minutes of unedited, raw video of the finished machine as it will most likely be quite some time before I get an official video produced, I am still waiting on a friend of mine.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Blue Fox - Path Topology Diagram

This diagram shows the 17 connections between the 6 towers in Blue Fox. The towers are shown in their actual locations around my room. However, since this only shows path topology, the lines between them only show connections, not the actual shapes and routes of the paths. I used this diagram to help balance the number of incoming and outgoing paths from each tower as I constructed the machine.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Blue Fox - DONE!

My most complex ball machine to date is finally finished after 10 months of construction. It has 22,000 pieces, 120 moving parts, 86 gears, 16 paths, 7 motors and 6 lifts. I’ll make a video later, right now I have a lot of reliability testing to do.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Blue Fox - New Tracks (also 100th post)

This is my 100th post on this blog!

Also, here is an update on the construction of Blue Fox.
Since finishing the spring semester, I have had tons of free time to resume work, and construction is progressing rapidly. I have already constructed four new paths: The giant loop, the robot arm, a medium-length roller green roller coaster track, and a vertical drop track. At the moment I am working on general reliability as well as balancing the topology of the machine, in other words, making sure a ball lift doesn't have too many inlets or outlets, and that balls spend equal time in each segment. I plan to upload a topology map later, something which I have never done before. With a machine this complex, however, I feel that it is necessary.

I have also reprogrammed the robotic arm. It now operates at nearly twice the speed, as well as taking a new path which avoids the tracks I have placed in its way. I'm still a ways away from completion, however. Because this is the most complex K'nex machine I have ever constructed, reliability testing will take a very long time.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

New Track - Giant Loop

I can not bring myself to construct a large ball machine without including the classic giant loop. Despite my success in constructing the first successful K'nex corkscrew, that track has been abandoned for reliability and space issues. This has freed up space to construct the two new tracks I have posted recently. Due to the space taken up by the loop, the programming for the robot arm track had to be adjusted, slipping the arm through a tiny gap in-between the loop supports and the giant supporting arch. With this track, I hope to add some balance to the flow of the balls from tower to tower.

K'nex Ball Machine Robot Arm Track Test 1

The robot arm is now fully integrated into the rest of the machine.

Monday, May 16, 2011

2-axis K'nex robot arm proof-of-concept

Bi-directional K'nex Motor Control with an Arduino

So this is what I'm up to this week, now that I am done with school. I purchased a bunch of new electronic components, as well as two new k'nex motors, and am experimenting with programmable bi-directional control. So far it's working great, I plan to integrate this into my latest ball machine, if possible.