Wednesday, September 18, 2019

3D Printed Box Lid: Developing a 'Locking' Lid Version 4.0

Above: Design shown prior to PLA removal for lid insertion
Challenge: Use a 3D Print to produce a box with a working lid that can be sealed.
Background: As part of the major sound lure project that are students are working on, one of the key issues is 'water proofing' - ensuring that the sound lure is able to be deployed but protected from the environment.  This is another box in the series but this student wanted to use the 3D Printer to produce a lid that could be locked in place to ensure that the container was water tight and the lid would not come off unless it was removed.    As shown in the photograph on the left the lid has breakable component parts that need to be carefully removed to enable the lid to be slid into place.   With the lid then inserted into the gap created by the removal of the excess PLA the additional support for the lid as shown holds it in place.  There is also an internal wall with a removable section to support a division between the battery storage and the speakers.   The students were basing all these dimensions on the speaker/sound device combination that our students are presently working through.   These dimensions reflected the design, shape and size of this sound lure.   
Degree of Difficulty: High - this is pushing the students in this class to the limit to test their designs and creations using the materials and designs available.   With the PLA just below the lid removed (as shown left) the idea is clearly demonstrated. 
Size:  The box is similar to other designs in this series to reflect the size of the sound device.   It was 100mm by 100mm square with a height of 60mm.   The internal wall was placed 30mm from the end of the box to include the batteries as storage.
Time frame: Nine hours to print on the regular settings of nearly everything that we've printed over the last five years.  8mm nozzle (in some earlier posts this has been described as a 4mm nozzle but this was incorrect due to a misunderstanding.  The infill is the 20% standard default.    There was some adjustments made below.
What we would do differently/Next steps for students: While this lid will work the students concerned needs to make adjustments.   The lid needs to have more support from the frame of the box at the top and especially the sides - we will still be using this box for the project but further lids will have a more robust lid combination.  The external wall needs to have some adjustments so that the batteries can be placed from one side of the device to work through without having to re-wire the sound lure.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

3D Printed Customised Sound Lure Box 3.0

Battery storage area shown immediately in front of the design
Challenge: To produce a customized box for the storing of electrical circuits for a Conservation project.
Background: This is an ongoing project of significance to the classroom with a process that is scheduled to run for the remainder of the year.   The 3D Printer is crucial for the process because we are purchasing basic electronic commentary from overseas from inexpensive online sellers, creating the circuitry, combining it with speakers, and a power source and then preparing the entire package or group of objects to be placed in rural locations in the outside environment.   The initial development which featured on this blog was for small microchips with very narrow widths and with one watt powered speakers which meant that the boxes themselves were relatively small.   In recent developments with the design we have switched to using more powerful three watt speakers.    These speakers are already assembled and while that is a positive the box housing them needs to reflect this as well.   Students have been working on a prototype of this
Above: Design shown speaker - note button visible bottom left
box, and there were additional challenges put to the students.   The battery or power component needs to be housed separate from the speaker, although as there is wiring there needs to be a relation between the two.    The button to operate and start the unit working needs to be wired to the outside of the box, linked by a small 10mm by 20mm hole to allow the button to be moved to the outside.   Finally this print is intended to have a lid, which is able to be slid into place and locked there to hold itself to protect all of the commentary.   This lid also needed to be able to emit the sound from the speaker and limit its exposure to moisture or rain.   There was finally the last aspect - the aspect of flexibility - as we have progressed in this project the size and electronic commentary that we are using has to be flexible to enable us to try combinations and experiment.    This shown option involves the use of rechargeable batters - a solar powered source of energy would be perfect in the future.
Degree of Difficulty: High - this is a complex project involving little details that need to work successfully in order for the device to function.     This design appears straight forward but is proving not, however it is proving an excellent extension for two ten year olds who have shown creativity and flair for design.   The learning experience to produce a working lid will be invaluable. 
Size: This print measures 130mm across 120mm deep and is 70mm high..    The two internal component parts were designed to house separate battery and speaker areas.   The internal wall created to divide the two is 5mm thick and is placed 50mm from the outside wall at the shorter end.    There were additional external holes placed for the button speaker to be outside of the box so it could be switched on and off without the entire box being opened.   This design is undergone a significant re-design since it was originally printed, and before the print has already been reduced in size to 50% of what is shown here, as this will still allow to have all of the needed aspects of the design and also allow for transport of a number of the devices at one time.
Time frame: Fourteen hours - this is reflective of the size of the project - version 4.0 will be halved.
What we would do differently/Next steps for students: This is already been updated to reduce the size of the print considerably to make the box more compact.   Experimenting with the lid to ensure that it works and emits the sound and protects the box.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

3D Printed Sound Lure - Version 2.0

Above: The sound chip and the first stage of box protection
Challenge: To produce a box to allow a sound lure to be deployed outside - the box needs to be water proofed to reduce the chance that water can damage the electronics contained within the box.
Background: This is a significant project for the students in our classroom utilizing the 3D Printers to produce custom made boxes for sound lures that we are producing to work in conjunction with traditional traps for pests.   These pests are significant in New Zealand - as introduced initially to control rabbits they subsequently turned their attention to preying on native New Zealand bird species.   As a result of our work with local agencies we have looked at using technology to make these traps more effective - by using electronics to lure the predators towards traditional traps.   These sound lures require basic or medium level electronics that need to be deployed outside in the elements - we already know from repeated testing that the 3D Print filament will not be weathered the issue is whether or not the students can successfully soundproof the box while also allowing the sound from
The middle of the design to project the sound chip
the box to be heard to allow predators to hear it.   This is involving all students in the classroom, who are ten or eleven years old, to design boxes to hold the electronics.   This is not as straightforward as it seems as we have not completed the electronics project part yet - so the designs need to be flexible so that they can be adaptable for different sized chips.   In this design shown the chip is a greeting card sized chip that would produce a sound similar to a one watt speaker.   The balance between water proofing and adding the ability to disperse sound is providing challenging and once the electronics are confirmed the challenge will need to be adaptable to be completed successfully.  This is an ongoing project that our student will continue to be working on for a considerable length of time (the project
itself it is not anticipated that will be completed before the end of the 2019 Calendar Year.   The designs at present represent the students understanding of 'waterproofing' and need to be reflective of moisture as opposed to rain, as we have a 'roof' design shown in this process which does not overlap the base.
Middle Design - Showing the holes: are these two large
Level of Difficulty: High - this concept while it appears straightforward has a number of factors involved in it the most difficult is the balance between allowing the sound to be emitted from the box but not to allow water or moisture in particular to enter the box and have an affect on the electronics.   Traditionally designing the holes in 3D Printing design programs may ultimately not work and we suspect at this point that we may have to look at drilling into a solid box base with a drill with a small width to have the best results (this will be tested in the field later in the year to confirm).
Size: This print was completed in three main component pieces which are shown in the three main pictures with this post.   The base of the design which contains the part where the chip is located is a simple box design.   It is 80mm long 50mm wide and 10mm high.   The width of the sides of the box is 5mm.   The middle stage of the box, as shown in the second pictures has similar dimensions as listed above with the expectation of it being a solid block (with of course the five holes that are thought it).    The third component part is the roof.   This design was devised on the basis of a traditional sloping roof, with a basic triangular shape and four columns that were for the roof to be placed on the middle section.  The roof is 30mm high at its top point and the columns are 20mm high.   The dimensions of the roof are designed to work with the base.
Time Frame: The print, in its three component pieces were printed as a single job which took six hours.   There could have been a little additional attention paid to its dimensions (see below).
What we would do differently/next steps for the students: The roof does not extend over the base of the design - so the practical attention to detail would be if this was effective (obviously as we know that rain does not fall straight down, but when wind is included can come in from the angle, this provides limited protection).   The five holes that were introduced to allow the sound to come out from the microchip were not co-ordinated with the columns to hold the roof up - some of the holes underneath were covered completely by the support for the roof.   Sound testing will lead to this being considerable redesigned.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

3D Printed Customised Sound Lure Case

Above: Design shown in profile with light sensor option.
Challenge: To produce a sound lure case with 3D Printing that would protect the electronic circuitry but also allow a sound lure to operate.
Background: This is part of a major project that our classroom of students are involved in, producing sound lures to attract pests to conventional traps.   Since we started on the project our students have made significant progress.   The initial designs focused on inserting Three Watt speakers and electronic circuits which, with a motherboard would produce a sound, that was ideally operating by detecting light levels and working in conjunction with a power source.   The Department of Conservation in New Zealand supplied us with a working example, our student spent time breaking down the components and brainstorming ideas about how we could improve on this.     Our initial designs were based around a larger speaker with our component parts assembled.  As we moved into the project we were able to locate Arduino kits that were already assembled that could produce some of the functionality that we were looking for. 
Above: Design shown from above.
One of the first chips that we identified was a chip that had a suggested use of being sound for a greeting card, this was suggested to operate as the sound source.   When this arrived as ordered we were then able to significantly change the design of our boxes to reflect the size of the chip.    We need to waterproof these boxes as the intention is to deploy them outside and in location when they can get wet, which could potentially be disastrous for the electronic circuits that we are using.     We know already from our 3D Printing numbering for the school that has been outside exposed to the elements for an entire calendar year and yet to show any sign of wear or damage.   We of course are also able to custom make boxes of the exact size that we need with the exact components to suit the circuitry that the students from the classroom are creating - it is also introducing another problem for our students to overcome, as we are producing a sound box that still requires the sound to be easily
Above: Design with potential computer chip placement
emitted and produced but also there needs to be protection for the internal parts of the box.  This is an ongoing project that will keep our students working and problem solving for the remainder of the school year.   I have inserted a new tab into this blog with the overall project which you can locate by clicking on this link. 
Level of Difficulty: Medium/High - this concept and idea is proving challenging because of the specifics of the electronic componetary and needing to be exact to complete the task successfully, and also (eventually) the full water proofing of the design so it can operate regardless of the weather.    While the students involved in this are ten and eleven they are experienced students who have used the 3D Printers throughout this school year.   There is no teacher input into this process or any of these designs, with the students working in groups of four to complete this.
Size: 100mm wide, 70mm wide and 20mm high.   The internal platform in the middle of the design is of a similar dimension and the four corners feature four points which could be potentially drilled into.
This is reflected by the size of the sound board, which the print is intended to protect.
Time frame: Three hours on the regular default settings - 8mm nozzle and a 20% infill.
What we would do differently/Next steps for students: This needs to be completed with a lid, and then the students need to carry out a series of testing to ensure that the speaker produces a clear and audible sound, preferably as loud as possible.