Manufacturing guy-at-large.

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Old models

Added on by Spencer Wright.

These are robot door parts I designed in 2012. And I gotta say, this (the black rod in the middle of the photos) was a dumb but kinda clever solution to a shitty problem.

I wish I still had this mockup

Added on by Spencer Wright.

From mid 2010:

kln handle-1.jpg

This looks simple but there's a lot going on. 

The handle itself is 7 or 8 pieces; this mockup shows it mounted to an assembly of extrusions (all of which I designed, and clad in blackened mahogany) which together make up the stile of a 2000lb swinging door. In the close corner you can actually see the inflatable pneumatic seal (I can't stress how cool this is) that keeps the door weatherproof from the exterior.

The handle has a couple of stainless steel mounting brackets which are hidden inside the stile. Then there are the horizontal parts, which are drilled internally to allow a bundle of wires to be routed from the stile into the handle itself. The vertical part of the handle is actually split along its long dimension, though you can't see it in the photo. The part on the right is solid, but the part on the left (towards the stile) rides on a couple of shafts and actuates about 1/16". When you grab the handle, the moving part clicks in just a little bit and closes a pair of tactile switches, which tell the door's brain (a custom ATMega board) that someone wants to be let out. That in turn deflates the pneumatic seal and releases a couple of electromagnets, unlocking the door.

If you followed any of that, kudos. 

Anyway it's fucking cool. Too bad it never got built - it took me months to design & prototype. 

Sure was a fun project, though.


Added on by Spencer Wright.

From Wired's (great) recent piece, "How Apple’s Lightning-Plug Guru Reinvented Square’s Card Reader."

But ditching the battery meant more than saving space. It was also a huge step towards that simplicity Dorogusker set out to achieve from the start. “With a battery, you have to somehow connect the battery to your circuit board,” he says. “You do that with two little wires. They have to be cut to length, stripped on both ends, tinned on both ends and hand soldered to the battery and then to the board. It’s a huge amount of labor.”

In my robot door life, we were lucky enough to have someone aboard to warn us of the physical danger of lithium ion batteries; we ended up finding some very powerful lead acid batteries to do the trick instead. But we spent a *lot* of time configuring our battery pack, which was a PITA to assemble and mount. Wires suck, and batteries often require them. Avoid if possible.