Sunday, 24 October 2010

Up till now (4/10/10 - 24/10/10)

It's already been 3 weeks into term and I've almost met the first half of my brief:
  1. Learning Solidworks.
  2. Using my new found knowledge to re-build the model they gave me in it so that I can work from it.
The above is needed as the original model was hopeless; join lines indicating how and where the bag should open were non-existent, this combination lock that is required in their brief follows suit. Thankfully after 2 weeks of following the inbuilt tutorials as well as a few online ones I've managed to get the advanced basics figured out so that I could re-build it into a working state. Below are a few progress shots of said re-built model:

Overall, Solidworks has been tricky getting to terms with it, in that simple things that would take me a minute to do on Rhino can now take up to half an hour, but the worst feature I've found is the camera control. On the plus side, the collision detection as seen in the second photo was a welcome feature when it came to designing the hinges.

Speaking of hinges I've spent the past several days making prototypes of the different sorts and how they work with the 5mm acrylic I'm using. Originally wanting to use a 3mm steel rod as a pivot in the hinge proved too large as when it came to drilling the hole for it the acrylic snapped, even when in a jig. So I used a 2mm rod instead (in the right of the photo):

The hinge on the left was the primitive rod attached to the end of the heat bent acrylic showing that this wouldn't work as it needs to be held in place by the MDF side parts thus not meeting the external curvature. The steel rod hinge though works nicely and on this small tester holds its own weight but this could change on the wider final part. Saying this I'm going to try using acrylic tubing  (5mm acrylic tube dealers) with a 3mm steel rod that runs through its entirety and into the MDF side parts.

Back to the Solidworks model only a few parts remain to be done, the handle and carry strap, internal compartments and the folding prepartion table. The latter will work on the same prinicple as the hinges, in that acrlyic tube will be attached to the ends and threaded with a smaller steel rod so that it is fully workable.