Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Chassis update #2

The chassis has made some big design leaps since the last update. First, we began to get into the details of the internal structure. This process began as something of an organization game, with the goal to make each sub-system fit neatly with the others. Even weight distribution and ease of maintenance access were some of the top priorities, while also keeping some wire routing paths in mind. With 2-liter plastic bottles seeming like a likely choice for our beverage containment vessels, we had enough to begin adding to our CAD model.

Shown above is our "bottle rack". The shelf below the bottles has holes cut to allow the outflow tubing to connect. After the bottles were in, I began adding in more frame members to support the anticipated components we would need.

You can now see our placeholder CO2 tank in the frame, as well as a funnel support (for the drink dispensing), and a mysterious pole at the top. The placement of the CO2 tank was intended to help offset the  weight of the filled bottles. Metal members going horizontally around the frame are primarily supports for different components. They are not yet vertically constrained, which allows us to slide them up and down until we find a good position in the model. With the addition of the shell and final internal pieces, I played around a little with the render feature for the following image.

The bent plastic piece mounted to the front shell represents the backing to the dispensing area. The box on the left side of the frame is a placeholder for the solenoid valves. I also experimented with changing the position of the electronics board from the top to the right side for easier access from the removable back panel. Finally, the pole on top is now supporting a generic Android tablet, which will serve as the interface screen.

A view from the front shows some new cuts in the front shell to accommodate the dispensing space and give Alfred a name. 

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