Just started a new project for a display for the Anifest Animation Festival in October here in the UK, and I thought it would be cool to share the process of the build up.

I'll start with the initial CAD design process, laser cutting, proof of concepts etc. Then follow on with final CAD designs, manufacturing and post processing of components ready for full build up.

The final build should be around 25cm / 9" high, using ball and socket modular joints through out - plus I'm going to trial a new concept of attaching " armour " and body sections. Materials used will range from mild steel to various grades of aluminium and stainless steel.

So, first of all, lets get a proof of concept cut on the laser cutter for the ape's arm and hand based on the CAD design below:

As soon as the designs cut in mild steel, then the fun starts! putting it together and hoping it all works!!

JC

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It's here!!!

Now to tap the holes, de-burr and prep for testing. Can't wait!!!!

JC

It Works!

Everything went fine, a few mods were needed post laser cutting, but nothing major. The laser cutting guys made a little mistake on the finger joints, the centre holes were all cut to 3mm holes so could'nt tap as planned ( hence the nuts and longer M3 bolts ).

've also built in movement restriction for elbows, wrists and shoulders to create a more natural articulation and to emphasise the whole robot thing.

Now to design the torso and butt!!!

JC

that looks bad a** 

That's pretty amazing. How thick is the steel you cut the pieces out of?

Also I'm unfamiliar with laser cutters. What kind do you use, and are the expensive?

Yep, they are expensive, around a couple of hundred thousand pounds!!

I use a local Laser profilling company that have 4 of the beasts, because I use them for the production of my armature kit range they let me just do small, one off runs quite cheaply. Very handy to have access to, you're pretty much restricted only by your imagination!

This concept is made in 2mm Mild Steel, it has the right mixture of strength, weight and machinability. Plus, by using a softer metal than the steel balls in a ball and socket joint, you won't get any "binding" - which is a pain when animating.

Nearly finished designs for the body and legs, will post when ready.

JC

www.animasapien.co.uk

I use one in education on acrylics, MDF & ply but it always leaves the smallest of ridges on the acrylic material and looking up close to your armature Julian it seems to have the same characteristic finish to the edge of your joints, has this caused you any problems Julian.



Steven Garrett said:

I use one in education on acrylics, MDF & ply but it always leaves the smallest of ridges on the acrylic material and looking up close to your armature Julian it seems to have the same characteristic finish to the edge of your joints, has this caused you any problems Julian.

Hi Steven,

it's one of the biggest draw backs to laser cutting, but it' has not really caused any issues - on some larger pieces I tend to buff the edges with the dremel .Super heating metal for brief periods can also leave "bobbles" of slag on the underside of the cuts, but most of the time they come back quite clean.

For really intricate projects, I pay a little more for Water jet facilities - this leaves a beautiful finish to the edges, but is more prone to a "taper" on the cut.

JC

www.animasapien.co.uk

Thought there would be some cleaning up to do

Julian Clark said:



Steven Garrett said:

I use one in education on acrylics, MDF & ply but it always leaves the smallest of ridges on the acrylic material and looking up close to your armature Julian it seems to have the same characteristic finish to the edge of your joints, has this caused you any problems Julian.

Hi Steven,

it's one of the biggest draw backs to laser cutting, but it' has not really caused any issues - on some larger pieces I tend to buff the edges with the dremel .Super heating metal for brief periods can also leave "bobbles" of slag on the underside of the cuts, but most of the time they come back quite clean.

For really intricate projects, I pay a little more for Water jet facilities - this leaves a beautiful finish to the edges, but is more prone to a "taper" on the cut.

JC

www.animasapien.co.uk

Final design has now arrived! Not sure where to start..........

Wow, that is a fantastic idea. I absolutely can't wait to see it finished and an initial test animation.

I think laser cutting looks like the way to go for my next project, at least for some puppets. Should save a massive amount of time I imagine?

Gulp is the word for this here final result.

I love it.

The freshly cut sheet metal is a thing of beauty in and of itself. 

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