When a plan comes together

Monday, February 24, 2020

There has been an awful lot of software written since the last update, but its been worthwhile: The full system, including the linear actuators, the elevator, and the electromagnets can now be centrally controlled by our Jetson TX-2 computer via the CAN bus. This means we can run the system through the whole swap procedure from beginning to end. The software emergency stop switch is also installed and functional, including a safe "resume from E-stop" procedure that resets all the actuators to their base state.

Testing the swap procedure and E-stop fallback switch.

Now that most of the core mechanical work has been completed, the focus has shifted to scaling up on battery charging stations and cartridges. This means we're running our poor old Creality CR-10 3D printer ragged, virtually nonstop for 24 hours a day. After some failed prints earlier in the week which were eventually diagnosed down to a spoiled batch of filament, the machine has been performing admirably. We recorded a short video of three cartridges being printed at once, a 12+ hour process:

Printing new cartridges on our CR-10.

We've also been working on pieces from our small SLA printer (an Elegoo Mars), too. This process is a bit more cumbersome, and the maximum print dimensions are significantly less, but the payoff is in much stronger and more precise parts. We made a short video to demonstrate our construction process for those.

Printing small SLA parts on our Elegoo Mars 3D printer.

Lots of videos this week, I know, but we're getting ready for the big one: A full end-to-end battery swap with a real life drone. Stay tuned!