Tuesday 5 April 2011

(Manual) Labour Day

Now that the treadmill is up and running I have started building everything that goes around the treadmill. Concurrently my second focus is familiarising myself with the Quake 2 game engine which I will use to create the virtual reality for my mice. If somebody knows a better piece of sofware for that, don't hesitate to leave a comment!

So, it was time for the frame which will hold the overhead mirror (angular amplification mirror and plane mirror) and support the screen. Here is a picture from my 3D model so you get a better idea what I mean (we are talking about the black frame):

After a quick discussion with the workshop wizard I have decided to use Dexion SpeedFrame(t). Essentially what you have to do to put a speedframe together is cut the bars to the right length and connect them with joints. I have designed it so that it covers the outermost row of holes on the airtable, on my 900x750mm table that makes a footprint of 800x650. The height of the cube was determined by how high the screen is, although the current solution allows to adjust height of screen support and mirror to make it less dependent on the absolute height of the cube.

Now you can see why 3D modelling is very handy. Without being able to put all this together virtually it would be very difficult to get the dimension right and know how things are arranged before it is actually built (at which stage it is very difficult to change dimensions or design). Again, I'm more than happy to share my 3D model for strictly non-commercial purposes.

It took me about 5 hours to make this cube, here the usual photo-documentation of my fun labour day.

 Top: the holder to cut the bars was provided by the workshop and was very handy to get a clean, straight cut. One must not forget though that we are cutting iron here, so it is not without effort and some experience comes in handy.
Middle: 4 bars cut, out of 14. Ugh.
Bottom: bars, also perfect for bar-charts

Filing all around to take off sharp edges (top). The finished result is below. 
The next step inolves a hammer and a lot of noise.

There are 2 steps to connecting a speedframe: 1) insert plastic ends into bars which give the joints extra grip. 2) hammer in joints. DO NOT do this around animals. This creates a lot of noise. And not just any noise, it's the kind of noise that shakes the very structure of a building. Anyway, while feeling a little bit sorry for everybody else in the building I hammered together the cube.

The cube is moutned to the airtable via small hooks that are screwed down. The standard hooks are too small to put an M6 screw through it, so I whipped out the drill. Now the cube is ready, here is one final picture of the cube. Looks pretty much like the the model, eh?

Tomorrow this cube will be transferred to the animal house and put onto the airtable, stay tuned for a quick update tomorrow.

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