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Automated Foam Cutter - New Pics/vid

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#1 hereticorp

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 11:16 AM

UPDATE!
The Foam Cutter now has a counter to keep track of how many blanks it processes!

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Video With Counter

So I got an idea in my head a few weeks ago about an automatic foam cutter, being as I was sitting there snipping lengths off of my roll of foam and I was not a happy camper.

I wrote up a rough sketch and starting doing some research on triggering mechanisms and other needed options.

I sort of ran into a brick wall and decided to consult my father who is a retired electrical engineer.

He took my idea and just ran with it, making up a monster of a project, which you can see here:

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The Tweaker Industries LSD-FC-01

To start out, the feed motor rotates the wheels and moves the foam downwards.

Below the cutter is a T-Junction PVC pipe that contains an LED and a photo sensor. When the foam interrupts the light, the feed motor stops and the motor attached to the ACE Hardware tubing cutter (with added razor blades to back the cut) starts to rotate and actuate the cut.

Once the cutter has returned to full extension and is out of the way of the foam feed (there's a switch behind the cutter that depresses at full extension) the feed motor starts up again and the process repeats.

The T-Junction is adjustable up and down for different lengths of foam. The cuts are as close to perfect as they can get for straightness due to a backing spring in the upper PVC guide that lightly presses the foam against the back of the guide and thus keeps it nice and straight on the cut.

A 2" piece of foam takes about 8 seconds to cut.

The feed motor voltage is adjustable as well for faster or slower movement, the faster the feed moves the less accurate the cut is. The over-spill from the LED is about 1/8" at 4.5v and 1/4" at 6.0v, so the T-Junction needs to be adjusted to compensate.

Overall, this is a helluva project and I can only be very grateful that my father isn't shy about sharing his talent.

Here's the electrical schematic if anyone is interested.

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EDIT:

More Pictures and a Video:

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Video Here
Alternate Direct Download for Video

Edited by hereticorp, 03 April 2009 - 04:54 PM.

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#2 mystefansdontflystraight

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 11:19 AM

Holy Damn. That is the best invention since condom and the crossbow. Man, if I had one of those, my life would be a hell of a lots simpler. Any chance of making plans available to the public?
AWESOME!!!!!
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QUOTE(Blacksunshine @ Dec 24 2009, 02:15 PM) View Post

QUOTE(white moonlight @ Dec 23 2009, 01:29 PM) View Post

It's just screaming to be rearloading...

I seen a movie about that once.



#3 hereticorp

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 11:24 AM

Holy Damn. That is the best invention since condom and the crossbow. Man, if I had one of those, my life would be a hell of a lots simpler. Any chance of making plans available to the public?
AWESOME!!!!!


The electrical diagram is really all that you need. It gives the important aspects of the device.

I'll take some more detailed pictures of the parts if you like, that should give you all the reference you need to build something like this on your own.
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#4 hereticorp

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 11:29 AM

Is your family name Goldberg?

Seriously - that is both massively cool and slightly terrifying.


Heh, nope. Ironically, I'm German by ancestry.

It really is, that thing could easily take a finger off if you got it in the wrong place.

I really wasn't after faster, I was after something that would run while I was doing other stuff so I didn't waste my time snipping foam when I could be painting or something else useful.

I was also happy to note that it eliminates the trimming phase from stefan making as well, so I'm not wasting foam on every dart.

Edited by hereticorp, 16 September 2008 - 11:30 AM.

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#5 hereticorp

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 11:38 AM

If this ever becomes any sort of product, you'll want to add a sensor to turn it all off when the foam runs out. Probably another LED just above the wheels. Otherwise the end piece will just fall through once the wheels lose grip, and it'll certainly be too long to belong in the bin.


That's true, I hadn't thought of that aspect.

It wouldn't be difficult, just have another relay in the system to cut power to the feed motor when the top LED isn't occluded.

But this won't become a product, mass production would be insane.
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#6 Split

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 11:42 AM

Awesome! There was a like 10 page thread about a fully automated process too. Have you thought about making it burn holes too? They are one of the most varying aspects of stefans, and if they were machine-perfect, it could yield some great results. The stefan drops onto a small belt that puts the tip onto the tip of a hot glue gun and an arm pushes it off at a certain point into a bucket or something. Very cool.

It is really big for my tastes, though. I love it. Tell him thanks for working out all of the numbers and everything! It makes me want to get a third minor..
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Teehee.

#7 hereticorp

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 11:51 AM

Awesome! There was a like 10 page thread about a fully automated process too. Have you thought about making it burn holes too? They are one of the most varying aspects of stefans, and if they were machine-perfect, it could yield some great results. The stefan drops onto a small belt that puts the tip onto the tip of a hot glue gun and an arm pushes it off at a certain point into a bucket or something. Very cool.

It is really big for my tastes, though. I love it. Tell him thanks for working out all of the numbers and everything! It makes me want to get a third minor..


Yeah, I know, I read it just after I had the idea for a foam cutter.

I could probably make an automated holer, but the problem with that is the fact that the hot-tip gets gunked up after a while and doesn't make the same hole. I'd use a soldering iron to do the holes, but still, it would be a challenge to keep it clean and keep the holes even. A machined solution would do the same movement over and over again, but would end up with inconsistent results due to foam debris on the hot tip.

I almost think that a really fast moving drill might do better, but that would require the stefan being held pretty tight.

Automating the hole process is a whole other can of worms, if I could find a type of tip that didn't get gunked up by melting foam, that would make it much easier.

Yeah, it turned out much larger than I had expected, but I'm happy, I have the space on the wall for it. I'm sure it could be minimized somewhat, but not a whole lot.

I sort of want to go back to school myself, I understand the diagram but there's no way in hell I could have built it.
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#8 Icespartan 1114

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 11:54 AM

Jesus that is amazing. Why arn't you a contributor yet? Hahaha but I'm serious you should be.
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#9 hereticorp

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 12:37 PM

Jesus that is amazing. Why arn't you a contributor yet? Hahaha but I'm serious you should be.


Because I'm a noob and haven't been posting that long.

I'm patient, I just enjoy making things.
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#10 Bomberman

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 01:03 PM

Jesus that is amazing. Why arn't you a contributor yet? Hahaha but I'm serious you should be.


Because I'm a noob and haven't been posting that long.

I'm patient, I just enjoy making things.

You are'nt a noob. At nerfhaven, youa aren't judged by your post count and how long you have been here. That plays a small factor in becoming a contributor and everything, but you are judged on your actions, and your contributions to the site. But really, this thing is a monster! I saw some kind of dart cutter that used a piece of heated wire to make a precise cut of foam on NHQ, but it looked like crap compared to this. Well, to anything really.
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QUOTE(silentsnipe) View Post

It's not like that. I put lube on it and its the same. Its just stuck. And when I cock it back it goes farther back then usual. Also I push as hard as I can and it wont go back in. I've tried the methods and they wont work. Also pics are up.

#11 hereticorp

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 01:15 PM

You are'nt a noob. At nerfhaven, youa aren't judged by your post count and how long you have been here. That plays a small factor in becoming a contributor and everything, but you are judged on your actions, and your contributions to the site. But really, this thing is a monster! I saw some kind of dart cutter that used a piece of heated wire to make a precise cut of foam on NHQ, but it looked like crap compared to this. Well, to anything really.


I just figure I should be around a while before I get into the elite ranks of the contributors.

I like it, and I hated the idea of the hot wire to cut FBR, too much melting involved. I did check that thing out, but it happened after I passed this idea off to my father, so I didn't give it much thought.

Such a mechanism merely needs a self-cleaning step.

I believe you're on the right track with the soldering iron.
Check this out: http://www.sciplus.com/ enter 93201 in the search box


Yeah, merely... I can't come up with a decent way to clean a hot tip without either burning the cleaning cloth eventually or involving water some how and that never ends well.

I guess I could have a slowly rotating cloth inside a cone shaped depression and have a slow water drip to keep the cloth from burning up. The real trick would be to have the hot tip move back and forth and up and down without needing adjustment.

Holy shit, ASS... I used to go there all the time when I lived in Milwaukee. I love that place.

The styro cutter isn't thick enough to make the right size of hole I think, I've used them before and they're generally pretty thin to avoid wasting styro and to avoid killing people with the fumes from melting styro.

I'll investigate around here and see if I can find one though. A wood burning kit might work better, they come with rounded tips that would be pretty much perfect for a BB hole.
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#12 Split

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 01:34 PM

In all honesty, my hot glue gun tip never gets gunked up, and it has burned holes in hundreds of darts. I don't know the rhyme or reason, but I can get a pic of the tip and the gun up if you want.
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Teehee.

#13 hereticorp

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 01:39 PM

In all honesty, my hot glue gun tip never gets gunked up, and it has burned holes in hundreds of darts. I don't know the rhyme or reason, but I can get a pic of the tip and the gun up if you want.


Well, I AM using a cheapass 10w hot glue gun from the christmas tree store ($1 each) so it could just be mine.

I'd love to see the pic, although I think I'd still use some cheap soldering iron or wood burning for the tip shape.
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#14 Mr BadWrench

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 02:25 PM

Rube Goldberg
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#15 hereticorp

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 02:28 PM

Rube Goldberg


I take exception to that, this is not "Over Engineered" its exactly as engineered as it needs to be to do the job well.
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#16 Firefox551

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 03:46 PM

Wow. :) That's crazy.
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#17 Daecu

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 04:53 PM

That's pretty ridiculously amazing o.o

Running off AC too...

edit: If you plan on selling these later one let me know :)

Edited by Daecu, 16 September 2008 - 04:54 PM.

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#18 One Man Clan

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 06:07 PM

Rube Goldberg


I take exception to that, this is not "Over Engineered" its exactly as engineered as it needs to be to do the job well.



That's funny. I was thinking to myself before I even got to the first post after your original that it seemed like a Rube Goldberg thing to have such a design. I mean, I know it's not overly complicated and all.

Making quality darts is a dying art. Another bunch of master craftsmen need to emerge. Raise your hand if you've even HEARD of zero's, never mind made thousands of them (single-handedly keeping the NJ and surrounding Nerfing Community going for several years).
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#19 CaptainSlug

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 06:15 PM

Very interesting work sputnik and sputnik Sr.

Raise your hand if you've even HEARD of zero's

/me raises hand

Making good darts takes patience and the right supplies to make them with.

Edited by CaptainSlug, 16 September 2008 - 06:16 PM.

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#20 Z4

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 07:40 PM

This is awesome, although I kind of like just cutting some blanks while watching reruns of Mythbusters...Nice work though, could you estimate how much all the components cost?

OMC: [timidly raises hand] Are Zero's the ones that have 5/8" heads with 1/2" bodies (or some combination of two different foam sizes)? I seem to remember reading something about them on one of the old Nerf pages.

EDIT: Never mind, I was thinking of "Webbies". I remembered the name of one and the method of another.

Edited by .Z4., 16 September 2008 - 09:35 PM.

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#21 Watari

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 09:26 PM

I need one of those...

Uhh, I just read the above 3 posts and decided to search for what "zero's" are...well I did search, many times, and came up with people just talking about it, I think it had to do with FBR and craft foam and/or felt? Also the links didn't work (since most of the people that posted were from '03-'04) and also I googled "Foam modified" and "zero darts" and nothing really came up, since I didn't want to necro a topic, can anyone tell me (or us because i'm guessing more than one person wants to know)...what zero darts are?
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#22 Ubermensch

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 09:29 PM

*raises hand*

I've known about dart types like zeros and webbies for a while, after I read about them in a tutorial on NHQ.

Ooh, ooooh! Raise your hand if you still make Matchsticks!
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#23 Senor Wolfwood

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 10:06 PM

I applaud you sir.
I have been attempting to think of an efficient consinstent way to produce stefans, and I do believe you've inspired me. I may PM you to get some specifics but the diagram is a great help.

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#24 Forsaken angel24

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 11:09 PM

If you were to make a Stefan making machine then it might be worth your while.
You just turn on the machine leave for a few days. Come back and have plenty of darts to sell at wars. :P

Edited by Forsaken_angel24, 16 September 2008 - 11:09 PM.

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#25 Talio

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Posted 17 September 2008 - 01:31 AM

I have a very serious question.

Are you asain or just bored?

Keep up the good work,

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