Friday, February 22, 2013

Chassis update

Here's a quick run through of the preliminary chassis design for Alfred. Looking at what we needed to accomplish with Alfred's mechanical structure, it became clear that the two greatest priorities were keeping it inexpensive and convenient for users to interact with. While some of the concept drawings leaned towards the "R2-D2" aesthetic, it soon sadly became clear that a circular shell would be too pricey for our budget. We briefly explored the idea of bending sheet metal or vinyl around a circular frame, but this introduced much more complexity than it was worth in addition to the cost. One of the most prohibitive factors was shipping costs for such large pieces of material, which is a challenge we are still working on. Eventually we decided to make a relatively simple rectangular box with an internal steel frame. The shell will consist of plastic plates that mount around the outside. This should make the refilling, recharging, and maintenance tasks  easy and quick.

The front and rear casters weren't added yet in the screenshot, it won't actually balance on two wheels. The two motor and gearbox mock-ups are based off the Banebots datasheets, and mount directly to the base plate. The wheels we found online will have to be modified in some way to connect them to the shafts.

Here it is with an angle iron frame. Some example shell plates have been attached to the frame for reference. These plates will probably be waterjetted to create the openings for the drink filling mechanism, motor shafts, and interface panel. Almost none of the internals have been added in yet because the design of those are still being finalized.

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