Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mechanical design and assembly update

It has been a pretty long time since the last detailed update on mechanical design and robot assembly. It has not been a summer of relax and vacations, though! The mechanical design team has been working for the whole summer to turn the ideas we presented at CDR into feasible models and drawings that could be sent to the factories.

During this phase new technological and practical problems have been arising, so we had to perform several changes to the preliminary design. The main guidelines that lead our work were to reduce the weight as much as possible and to keep the manufacturing and assembly process as simple as possible. The time constraint has been very important, too. We avoided components that could not be delivered in time. Hereafter is a summary of the major improvements and changes.
The truss-like frame has been substituted by a carbon fiber box made stiffer by several reinforcements. The ankles have been completely re-designed to reduce encumbrance and weight and to increase the workspace. With the new design two of the three motors that power each leg will no longer be mounted in a vertical position, but they will be horizontal allowing a further reduction of complexity (conic gears are no longer required). Feet have been revolutionized, too. They are now smaller and simpler to assembly since we have greatly reduced the number of components. They also include a removable spike that can be used on less firm soils.

By now, all the components made in composite have been completed by our supplier C.R.M. Compositi in Livorno and also many of the steel components are ready. Everything is being transferred to the Micromecc factory in Ospedaletto where we will soon begin the assembly phase.

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