I am leading a community outreach effort sponsored by the USA Tank-Automotive Command (TACOM), National Automotive Center (NAC), Warren, MI directed toward supporting FIRST.
An idea that immediately came to mind was the possibility of us bringing our Mobile Parts Hospital (MPH) to a few regional events, and, funds permitting, to the Nationals.
I’d expect the activity on this forum to diminish as we approach summer; so, I’ll ask in advance of any commitment (I.E. Way too early to make any promises) if you think you would have a use for the MPH during the competitions. I attended three regionals and the nationals, but I do not have a handle on the number of part requests we would get. I understand that the build time is about ½ inch thickness per hour. Parts can be done in parallel – even added next to a current build. The part size would be limited to 12x12x12 inches. The material used is glass-impregnated plastic (nylon?) which as a gear in the M2 Bradley Chain Gun has withstood over a thousand rounds.
Another idea involving the rapid prototyping capabilities of the MPH would be for us to involve the FIRST teams in a summer design contest. Many teams experienced shifting problems with the transmissions in the Bosch drill motors. The idea would be for the participating teams to design an alternative to the existing case and/or shift collar – perhaps to include some synchronization. They would then e-mail us their design, which we prototype and test. The award to the winner, if any is legally possible from a Govt. RD&E center, has yet to be decided.
Again, we wish to emphasize that this is not an announcement, but rather an interest inventory post. You guys are the experts. Please give me an estimate on the number of parts per event that we may need to build. Even if the number comes up to be zero, would you be interested to see the MPH in action – perhaps to build a few lapel sized models of your robot. Please let me know if you’d be interested in the design contest. You could use any CAD package you wish, so long as you could tessellate (translate) it into an “.stl” (Stereo Lithography) format.
We’ve used rapid prototyping to build demo models of some robot components for the past two seasons. It’s a very brittle, rough, starchy kind of model that’s not really good for actual robot parts, but it helps the students and engineers visualize how the thing is going to go together.
It would be great to have something like what you’re proposing at a competition, although I’m not sure if the material would be considered an “exotic material” (and thus be illegal) under the current parts rules.
I have heard of your facility/service, At NASA Langley I am working in development of a similar fabrication technique that uses an electron beam and wire feed to create parts near net shape directly from CAD/CAM file with no molds or forging dies needed. It is a five axis machine housed in a large vacuum chamber and has two wire feed systems so it is possible to vary the alloy content in the part created. You could have a titanium center gradually changing to an aluminum alloy at the outer edges for example. The electron beam creates a melt pool in a base plate that the wire is fed into and the machine will move to produce the part layer by layer, it is fast and not much wire is wasted at all.
We have tested the aluminum parts made and they seem to have a T4 heat treat condition right out of the machine!
No chance of bringing this machine to a Nationals event! (Heavy)
but we are researching/developing a small version that will fly on the KC 135a Zero Gravity aircraft hopefully in '04!
I applaud your efforts to bring this rapid prototyping technology to the FIRST community of students, teachers, and mentors!
Team 122 NASA Knights
I am sure people could use it.
And i’m sure people would love to have mini models of their robot. I know i would:) Would make great gifts for all our seniors!
I dont have any idea who you should contact about how much volume you would get for parts. Maybe some of the people who have been more involved in the operation of a regional like wildstang could assist you.
*Originally posted by Kris Verdeyen *
**We’ve used rapid prototyping to build demo models of some robot components for the past two seasons. It’s a very brittle, rough, starchy kind of model that’s not really good for actual robot parts, but it helps the students and engineers visualize how the thing is going to go together.
It would be great to have something like what you’re proposing at a competition, although I’m not sure if the material would be considered an “exotic material” (and thus be illegal) under the current parts rules. **
I checked into it. Here are the specs on the thermoplastics:
We don’t see nylon in the exotic material list. Fair market value for an RP part, on the other hand, would be an issue. However, it is our desire to educate the students in the process, which we understand would make the donated part exempt.
We would love to produce even one success story where a machine is able to function instead of just sitting there or going in circles for a couple of minutes. But if we bring the MPH and do nothing else but give the kids a chance to see and learn some leading edge technology, then we will consider it a huge success.
We’re open to suggestions - how about OCCRA? We’re right next door.
I’d just like to announce that Team 519 is very proud to be working with Jack Jones, the Mobile Parts Hospital and TARDEC. 2004 is going to be an amazing season for us!
The Cheesy Poofs (254) have a mobile machine shop they trailer to events. They would probaly have an idea of usage.
That said, that looks like a very cool thing.
That would probably fall with high demand at compatitions. I love the idea though, but as for the volume of requests…
Mini robots, hmmm…
*Originally posted by D.Fahringer *
**We have tested the aluminum parts made and they seem to have a T4 heat treat condition right out of the machine!
Is there any documentation of the entire process and/or results available online? I am currently doing RP research and this would be most helpful, since I have yet to see anything about getting a material quality that matches machinable materials.
P.S.- Thanks for giving me new ideas of search keywords.
Here are some examples of the current titanium work produced.
The titanium is able to be put down continously with no stopping to cool needed! These parts were created in about an hour and a half. Fully dense no voids at all in the walls! We have an entire wind tunnel model made this way and is waiting for finish machining.
E-Beam titanium building of the following part. .031 per layer,
1/16th dia. wire fed at 40 inches a minute while machine is moving at 20 inches a minute. Programming has been optimized for the Electron Beam CNC welderusing Featurecam Cad/Cam software. The process takes place in a near perfect vacuum.
Test part is meant to represent a structural connector of some sort.
Different view of the same part, very strong stuff!