After about a year into my new studies I’ve now managed to sneak in and get a job at a newly started 3D-printing facility at the University where I study (DTU – Fablab).
This not only supports me financially but I get to spend time in the lab, helping out with printing, setting up stuff, fixing, launching new prints and generally just learning loads about 3D printing. Even better still is that I’m allowed to print whatever I feel like on some pretty amazing printers… whole new world is opening up now
Obviously my first print isn’t gonna be amazing or anything but it’s a great feeling to see a model all the way through from design to print. I decided to try my luck on an old model of a girl. For the sake of simplicity and the otherwise NSFW print I only printed her arm but it turned out great! Fingers need a little extra love but the surface on the arm itself is really good.
Further advancement will follow.
As a side note I may be spending 3 whole weeks in June on a really exciting Uni project involving animatronics and 3D-print. More info on that later.
After finishing my first semester at DTU I had a 3 week introductory course to production technology.
This was basically 3 weeks of hanging out in the workshop and learning about welding, injection molding, casting in iron and plastics, milling/turning both manually and CNC-style and last but not least, 3D printing.
I’ve always wanted to learn about building stuff, but hadn’t considered that University would be where I’d get hands on practice. It was great getting a hold of some of the techniques for manufacturing stuff in the workshop and I’m hoping to put them all to good use very soon!
Here are 2 samples of what I made during the course. All supervised and guided by the teachers but I made it from scratch nonetheless and I’m proud of that.
1 piece of clamp and a barbecue:
Barbecue made out of 1 single sheet of metal, bent into shape for the body. 4 smaller sheets for the legs and a cast-iron grill.
Clamp took a little more work. The main body is initially cast in iron then milled into shape. Spindle is manually turned from a single rod. Handle and bushing are CNC turned. Some measurements with tollerances as low as 5mu
As for being introduced to 3D printing, this was something I had been looking forward to in particular. Partly because it’s an area that spans across both my profession as an animator and my studies, but also due to it’s vast potential in moving ahead with animatronics and prototyping. Turns out the guy in charge of 3D printing at DTU is looking for students eager to take the technology to the next level and dig into some new ideas.
Currently they have a lot of ideas that needs testing and they’re looking for students who wants to get involved. I think I may just do that
The more I learn about the life as a student, the more I like it. At least the parts that are not concerned with spare time and money…
On top of that DTU is establishing a new student workshop. It’s supposed to give the students the ability to produce prototypes of stuff, develop and play around with tech in their spare time and working on personal projects. All of which is again supervised and guided. As far as I understand, even materials are provided.. possibly for a small price, but at least I wont have to head out and buy single entities of this and that.
I, for one, have about a billion ideas of how to use all of this. It’s only a matter of getting on top of my homework and get going… ‘only’…
I have recently been accepted at The Danish Technical University (DTU) where I’ll be studying Mechanical Engineering for the next 5-years.
At least the course is called Mechanical Engineering, but due to the fact that DTU is extremely flexible in customizing courses, I will be mixing in as much electronics as possible to gain a more Mechatronic-minded skillset. I’ve consciously chosen the most technical education I could find in order to free myself from limitations due to ignorance.
The goal is robots, animatronics and electro-mechanic objects of all sorts with a focus on motion and movement.
I’m hoping to end up being able to take the process all the way from design through construction to the final electronics, but I’ll probably never be a specialist in all of it
As I’m writing I’ve just finished my first week of Physics, Math and general engineering work and I love it!
It’s great to be taught again and feel like I’m going somewhere.
Yet rather entertaining if you consider it a challenge.
My latest creation is inspired by ‘The Most Useless Machine, Ever!’ as seen on youtube.
Having had this kind of machine on my todo list for a while and being invited to a wedding where I knew the newlyweds would appreciate such device I decided to go for it.
It’s a silly device and utterly useless but it was most certainly fun to build and I learned quite a few things from it, despite it’s simplicity.
First and foremost I got to feel a bit more confident in constructing something out of wood/metal to hold different electronic components. That’s one thing I’ve been a bit anxious about as it has been ages since I made anything from scratch. Secondly I had to open up a Servo motor and resolder a few wires to enable a different type of control and as a result of that, I now know how I can hack it further to get actual position feedback directly from a standard servo. This is something I only thought possible (or at least with my skills) through using servos with such a feature already built in, like the Robotis Dynamixel servos that I’ve been using before, but being able to get position feedback from normal (And cheap) servos definitely opens up for some goodies
A how-to on creating one of these can be found everyone on the web so I wont explain the specifics.
Only thing different from theirs to mine is that I used this wooden hand carved box from ebay and the brass rim covering the cut through the lid was only put there to cover up for my lacking wood-cutting skills. Wasn’t planned for initially
Here are a few stills:
I had quite a good time shaping the finger as well but I forgot to document it by stills before I handed over the present, so you’ll have to check it out in the video instead, which is here:
As a statement of actually getting somewhere with my life, here’s another robot I’ve been working on.
It’s based on the Start Here robot from LetsMakeRobots.com which I thought would be a reasonable project for broadening my knowledge on electronics, expanding my repertoire of microprocessors – this one using Picaxe – and getting a bit puzzled by the usage of BASIC programming language in modern technology.
Getting it going wasn’t really a big challenge with the fairly thorough walkthrough on letsmakerobots but I learned heaps and feel confident that next project will be more of a push
Without further ado, here’s the beast. First autonomous dude with several to follow. This guy’s a simpleton but manages through slow and safe progress.
Right. First go at robotics to go online.
As I happen to be quite a big fan of animatronics, animation, building things and programming I’ve been playing around with a couple of Robotis Dynamixel actuators during the last month to see what they can and cannot do, and have now managed to set up my base for something that I see a bit of potential in.
Feeling so very comfortable in my favourite (and most hated) animation software Maya, my initial setup is by hooking up the actuators directly to Maya through a python-based server and a USB2Dynamixel which works as a close-to realtime connection allowing me to pose/animate/playback from Maya and seeing the result on the actuators while doing so, pretty neat hey?
The learning curve has been rather steep getting into bits and bytes when communicating with the hardware but I’m starting to get a hang of it now and my interest in the field is growing exponentially.
Video shows a preanimated motion that’s being played back from Maya on the laptop in the background.
The motion is currently being written as a goal angle at about 25fps with a static speed so my next big job is to get rid of as much jitter as possible by analysing the motion a bit tho I do have a hunch that the resolution is too small.
OMToolbox is a project I started a loooong time ago as is an extension of the first sculpting tools I made for Maya, also the first tools I ever wrote.
It started around my initial entry into the animation industry as a modelor, by frustration towards Mayas modeling toolset.
I had plenty of ideas for how to speed up my workflow with different tools but I couldn’t find the available online so I had to do my own, leading to my introduction to MEL.
After finishing the initial couple of tools I released them to the public under the name JWToolbox which by public demand later got turned into Open Maya Toolbox, meaning a community-based and maintained opensource toolbox for everything Maya. This caught the attention of Alias (Who owned Maya at that point) who featured the toolbox on their developers corner, however the community sadly died out when I no longer had the time to organize everything and couldn’t find a replacement, returning OMToolbox to a compilation of opensource Maya tools maintained by me… and I haven’t done a very good job at that lately with priorities not really pulling in that direction any longer. I’ll still update it occasionally tho, when I see fit.