machine design (aka how to make toast)
This week, we worked in large groups to assemble machines that use multiple stages to do something. This sort of design is what drives several machines we've used in the class, like CNC routers, laser cutters, vinyl cutters and 3D printers - so it makes sense that we'll get a small taste of building the things that help us build. Since we were in large groups, we did not work on every part of the project each - I contributed to laser cutting the stages of the machine. There were surprisingly a few problems with that process -
We tried to parallelize the work by using 2 machines at the same time, but we were somehow printing two different versions of the template out. This ended up causing problems later on because some of the parts from one outdated file were slightly different than the ones we needed. We re-did the job on the reliable file after to resolve any missing parts because of this.
We decided to create a toast machine that can draw images onto bread by delivering heat to it at different points that should be dark. Because of this, image inputs should be black and white - anything black is in the toolpath for the machine and anything white is left untouched. A cool modifier in the future would be to have variable temperature or variable length exposure to the bread based on brightness value so it isn't so binary.
We milled the boards from the site with all the parts - it looks like there were some small issues with bits of copper on the board that were resolved by careful control of a blade.
We laser cut the stages - the direction of the paper for some parts of this alternated so that the colored part of the paper would always face outside after assembly.
Now, with all the parts out, it's time for assembly.
Here's a stage in progress.
A completed stage!
When all of them were complete, we were able to test them to see that they worked.
The finished machine as a whole! There's a soldering iron that goes through the z-axis that will be used to deliver heat to spoecific areas to color the toast.
Here's the template file we're using to drive the system - it's cool that we can use mods to process it and that we do not need to build an additional printer driver just for this project. More results to come!