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Congratulations to Aurora – ESERO UK CanSat Team 2016

By | Competitions, Design, Education, Robox User Blog, Stuff and Things | No Comments

Congratulations to the Aurora team for 2nd place with a very ambitious (and successful) design which went way beyond the requirements set for the challenge. The team, consisting of 4 students aged 17 (S6), used a huge range of skills to design and develop their competition entry with prototypes and the final design printed on their Robox 3D printer.

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Some details about the team from their excellent website www.aurorasat.space

Who are we?
We are a CanSat 2016 team from Glasgow, Scotland. The team consists of four pupils from Hutchesons’ Grammar School. Our supervising teacher is Dr Walker, and our sponsors are Pulsion Technology and CEL Robox.

What is CanSat?
A CanSat is a simulation of a real satellite, integrated within the volume and shape of a soft drink can. The challenge for the students is to fit all the major subsystems found in a satellite, such as power, sensors and a communication system, into this minimal volume. The CanSat is then launched to an altitude of a few hundred metres by a rocket or dropped from a platform or captive balloon and its mission begins: to carry out a scientific experiment and achieve a safe landing.

Why do it?
CanSats offer a unique opportunity for students to have a first practical experience of a real space project. They are responsible for all aspects: selecting the mission objectives, designing the CanSat, integrating the components, testing, preparing for launch and then analysing the data.

Team

Rishabh Manjunatha
Team Leader
Electronics Engineer

Cheryl Docherty
Mechanical Engineer
Design Engineer

Jack Leslie
Software Engineer
Online Administrator

Wan-Ian Tran
Mechanical Engineer
Aeronautical Engineer

Guidance from
Dr Walker
Mr Walker
Mr McCormick

Primary Mission

Measure air pressure and temperature. Minimum 1 result per second transmitted to ground control/computer.

Secondary Mission

• Our can will split into two parts, and will land in two different areas on the ground.

• The can will split horizontally; the top part will land using a parafoil to glide to the ground, and the bottom part will land using a quadcopter-like motor/propeller system to navigate to the ground.

• The aim of the mission is to successfully demonstrate the splitting of the can, demonstrate two different landing systems and demonstrate the prospect of comparing two separate sites on one mission.

Optional – Targeted landing to both sites using high accuracy GPS and autonomous movement.
Optional – Rover on ground to pick up two capsules and return them to team base.
Optional – Implement camera to capture splitting of cans.

Challenges overcome:

Small space to fit 2 satellites. Designing a modular system to access parts easily and still retain a strong structure was challenging.
New pyboard with very little online guidance or information, we had to program and wire everything based on our own knowledge.
Brushless motors and ESC’s are fiddly to set up and get going.
Designing and constructing a stable Para-foil.
Programming in a new language and programming electronics and understanding how they function together.
Learning how to use inventor and rendering the simulations of the satellite.
Using a 3D printer, learning how different plastics behave and how best to print small scale intricate models.

CAD software used:

Autodesk Inventor Professional 2016
AutoCAD 2016

Other software / programming tools used:

Python IDE
Arduino IDE
Command Line Tools

Robox made the following possible:

Printing of our satellite using ABS and PLA plastic. The Robox support team helped us to with recommendations and settings to ensure each part was accurately printed.

Other resources used:

Technology department supplied the majority of the equipment used, including soldering irons, hobby drills, glue guns, desktops.
Our other sponsor Pulsion supplied us with the £500 budget we had to stick to.
Physics department supplied digital callipers and high accuracy balances.

The Robox 3D printer we have was purchased by 3 of our Arkwright Scholars and is kept in the Technology department for students to use on request.
The Scalextrics club, which is aimed at younger years, design and build model rc cars. They have already printed one model.
The Formula 1 club also uses the 3D printer.

The printer will be used for further competitions. (possibly the Google science fair or other independent projects)

A link to the competition website:

https://www.stem.org.uk/esero/cansat
http://www.aurorasat.space/

A note from the team leader:

I would like to thank you once again for not only sponsoring us and helping us when we had problems using the 3D printer but also for your kind words throughout. You have motivated us and kept us going when certain aspects of our project didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to. Your quick and informative responses have aided us greatly. – Rishabh

Robox DM Locking Ring

By | Design, Printables, Prototype Build | One Comment

This part is the locking ring which twists onto the dual material reel holder axle to lock it in place. The small black cylinder in the main image above.

On it’s own it is not particularly useful unless you lose yours. This one will print nicely on it’s end. I expect someone will use this model as the basis for a 3rd party reel holder which can be clamped onto Robox. Please link your reworked files in the comments and we will add them to the main post if they are worthy.

roboxlockingring_POLYPC

Above is printed in Polymaker PCPLUS polycarbonate.

Download .stl here

Mod: Flexible filament with Robox

By | Design, Prototype Build, Stuff and Things | 14 Comments

A modification which will allow Robox users to print with flexible filaments such as Ninjaflex. Bowden tube printers struggle with flex materials but the patented needle valves on Robox give excellent results.

In future we will produce extruders with this part as standard, this mod is for reference only. We are working on the details of an upgrade service which when purchased will allow your Robox to be updated with the latest available parts.

WARNING! This mod is not supported by CEL or it’s resellers, any changes to your Robox or changes which affect it will not be covered by warranty.

WARNING! Never remove or connect any plugs or covers while power is supplied to Robox via the mains plug or by USB.

 

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This mod prevents flexible filament (tested with Ninjaflex) from distorting in the gears of the extruder. Details of the mod are deliberately sparse as this should only be attempted by skilled people familiar with the required tools and with Robox.

Do not open any casing or remove any cables while power is present. Leaving Robox completely unplugged – including USB and mains cables – for at least 30 mins will allow capacitors to discharge and reduce the chance of a shock.

flexinsert

It requires printing of the small part shown above (flex_material_part.stl – print some spares before removing your extruder) which fits between the 2 filament drive wheels without stopping the filament from being driven by these wheels. To fit the part some of the extruder housing needs to be cut away from 2 parts of the extruder housing.

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Above: Top part is modified, bottom is original.

Below: It is very important that the filament is not trapped by the new part. Use a piece of filament put through the central hole to keep the new part in place while marking prior to cutting.

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The depth of the cut is equal on each side. Take care to keep cuts square and neat, we used a grinder similar to a Dremel.

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Remove small amounts of material and test the assembly often to ensure the fit is good.

Images below left for reference.

 

IMG_0984 IMG_0983  IMG_1004 IMG_1003    IMG_0994   IMG_0991 IMG_0990 IMG_0988

BBC micro:bit CAD Resources – Kitronik University

By | Design, Education, Stuff and Things | No Comments

An excellent resource and introduction to the BBC micro:bit by our partners Kitronik

See the article here: https://www.kitronik.co.uk/blog/bbc-microbit-cad-resources/

kitronik_microbit_logo_870

This Kitronik University resource is part of the BBC micro:bit partnership and features FREE downloadable CAD files in relation to the BBC micro:bit. These downloadable files are available in three different formats and have been made using Autodesk’s Inventor Professional.

Microbit-GIF-870-pix

The BBC micro:bit CAD Files

The team here at Kitronik have created a CAD model of the BBC micro:bit. We will be using this model to produce many of the resources we will be creating for the BBC micro:bit. We’re sure these models will be useful for lots of applications so we are making them available completely free of charge, as we feel this maintains the spirit of what the BBC are trying to achieve with the BBC micro:bit project.

Students and teachers (and home users) alike are sure to find them a fantastic starting point for projects based around the BBB micro:bit.

The files are available in the following formats (see bottom of page for download links):

  • .iam (Autodesk Inventor)
  • .stl (which can be used in most CAD programs and for 3D printers)
  • .sat

This render was created using Autodesk Inventor Professional and shows the kind of images the files could be used to create.

bbc_microbit_render_on_table_870

Autodesk – FREE Educational Design Software

Clearly to use these files you will need some CAD software. Autodesk provide their professional software free of charge to Education and Home user which makes it an ideal choice.

Autodesk gave the following reason for providing such easy access to it’s products:

‘Closing the skills gap starts in education. Autodesk are tackling this by providing schools with common access to the same advanced technology being used by industry professionals today. Autodesk provides schools, students and teachers with free access to its professional 3D design software. This will enable educators to introduce design thinking into our classrooms allowing students to imagine, design and create a better world. Using these tools to learn how to solve real-world challenges in new creative ways will be the perfect preparation for our the next-generation workforce. Equipping them with 21st century skills to meet industry demands and advance economies worldwide.’

You can get a number of Autodesk software products for free, for both educational institutions and home use, check here for more information.

bbc_microbit_render_stack_870

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The above images are renders of the CAD files using Autodesk 3DS Max and Autodesk 360

How Kitronik Are Using The Design

We’re using this design to create a few resources which we thought you’d find useful.

One example is this cool poster highlighting the features of the BBC micro:bit (A4 download available below):

bbc_microbit_poster_870

Another is this useful mechanical datasheet (download available below):

bbc_microbit_datasheet_screenshot

Using The Files When Creating 3D Printed Case Designs

Having the BBC micro:bit as a CAD object is incredibly useful when creating 3D printable (or laser cut-able) case designs. It means you can create your design with the knowledge that when you come to manufacturer the final design the BBC micro:bit should fit perfectly!

An example use of this would be when designing a case, like this one designed by Chris Elsworthy from CEL Robox to create this great 3D printed case design.

bbc_microbit_3d_printed_case_870

Having the renders available makes this job much easier, and ensures an accurate result. We will also be using the files in our own models and case designs.

Downloads

You can see the full BBC micro:bit – Kitronik University Course here.