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February 8th, 2011

gfish: (Default)
Tuesday, February 8th, 2011 11:11 am
I finally got a wire-feed (flux/MIG) welder last week, and a sharp looking (if kind of cheap) rolling cart to keep it all on. It's... just amazing. Normally when you buy a new tool, it gives you a new capability, and that's cool. But sometimes you get the magical experience of a new tool changing how you do everything. This is one of those times. Being able to weld cheaper/faster/better means I'm already turning to welding as a solution for all kinds of things I never would have bothered with when using my old oxy/accetylene set.

Other than cleaning up the workroom and shop last night, my focus continues to be on incrementally working towards the grand hexapod project. I have a working hydraulic testbed now, with a tiny little electric pump driving a small cylinder through a real directional control valve. I just finished mounting the cylinder to a pivoting arm, to give me a complete mockup of a single (1 of 18!) hexapod joint. I have the electronics working to control the valve from an Arduino, a frustrating but very educational process. Next: attaching a position encoder on the arm and implementing precision control. I might make a series of videos showing the relative performance of hysterisis, proportional, derivative and integral control loops, that would be neat. Assuming I can get that working, it's time to start working on a full-size leg. Which means a larger electric pump, amongst other things. That will be the final sanity check before getting absolutely stupid about this project. The point of no return. Whee!