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Automatic Foam Measurer

Made with Lego Mindstorms

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#1 louiec3

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 08:36 PM

When I first saw hereticorp's Automated Foam Cutter (as seen here) back when I was a noob I was going to post something like
"dUd3 THTs t3h Ub3r 133T!!111!"

But after thinking I decided not to and got to work on this...

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It's my Automatic Foam Measurer made from Lego Mindstorms NXT.

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Fbr goes in...

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and comes out.

Its not really accurate but it makes the cuts any where from 1.5-2 inches apart, but usually it doesn't vary a lot in batches.
When batteries are full the darts tend to be longer and when the batteries are low darts are shorter and breath fire.
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Blanks from the most recent batch.

Pros
-Overall this is really nice since it makes dartsmithing a lot faster and less tedious.
-It is much faster than hereticorp's it can make 1 cut in about 1 second.
-Its really fun to watch.

Cons
-It goes through batteries quite fast.
-Sometimes the wheel doesn't grip the foam well and the dart isn't full size.
-It is a pain to program it.
-With long lengths of foam it can jam.


Video

Questions, comments, flames

Bonus- Anyone that can tell me what gun that box is from gets a cookie.

Edited by louiec3, 17 July 2009 - 09:56 PM.

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#2 CoasterDynamix757

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 08:40 PM

Wow that's impressive. Good for a lot of darts, but not so good if your really a perfectionist like myself.

Mind making a video?
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#3 Chris is cool

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 09:15 PM

I believe it's a box from a turreted blowgun made by ertl.

Correct me if I'm wrong.

You deserve props for even making that thing move. It'd take me a nuclear scientist and a wing on a prayer to make one of those myself.

Edit:: NVM I think it's a PAS.

Edited by Chris is cool, 17 July 2009 - 09:15 PM.


#4 Echnalaid

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 09:44 PM

Hook it up to an outlet so batteries aren't a problem.
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#5 tack66

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Posted 17 July 2009 - 10:02 PM

That's what I was thinking and that is very nice.
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#6 Bedhed117

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 01:42 AM

I don't want to come off as a downer cause that thing is awsome and I could never build one in a Billion years but it doesn't look like the foam is getting cut in the video. I watched it a few times and it would fall off of the table in stephan sized chunks but instead it stays a large rod.
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#7 louiec3

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 08:25 AM

Echnalaid- I would hook it up to an outlet but I can't. The Mindstorms computer was made to run on batteries only.

Bedhed117- This machine isn't a foam cutter it's a foam measurer. Once all the fbr would go through the
machine I would take a knife and cut on the slits to get my blanks.

Everyone- Honestly this wasn't very hard to make it was just frustrating to program it.
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#8 k9turrent

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 09:16 AM

I think if you bought a AC to DC converter for the proper voltage and spliced the wires into the NXT it should work.


Offtopic: that box is for a ETRL PAS. (If it was a blow gun why would you put an add for the gun you are buying?)
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QUOTE View Post

That's about it. And thanks Angela who helped me with these pictures.. It looks huge in her hands.


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#9 ZACHARIAH

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 12:24 PM

That is really cool! Oh yeah, and the bow is from ertl.
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#10 Spud Spudoni

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 01:00 PM

It looks very practical. My question is, does that thing make straight cuts?

OFF TOPIC: The box is a PAS box. I just got one yesterday.
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#11 roboman

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 01:35 PM

With your third servo, you could probably create a mechanism to automatically cut the foam, so you don't have to. A straight razor could probably be sandwiched between two beams, allowing far a quick and easy blade change. I'll have a sketchup model up as soon as I can figure out how to upload it...

EDIT: Gah, never mind about the sketchup model. None of the file upload sites I found will let me upload a Sketchup file, and Google won't let me add it to the 3D model warehouse.

ANOTHER EDIT: For some reason, I didn't watch the video before posting, and I didn't notice that it already had a blade on it. You could just increase the blade travel, making it into an actual foam cutter, instead of just a measuring device. Still, though, nice work!!

Edited by roboman, 18 July 2009 - 01:52 PM.

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#12 louiec3

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Posted 18 July 2009 - 02:39 PM

Spud Spudoni- The small cuts it does make are straight.

roboman- When I was programing it I did have it cutting the foam all the way,
but the blade frequently caught on the foam and ripped it. So I just went with the foam measurer.
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#13 roboman

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 08:17 AM

roboman- When I was programing it I did have it cutting the foam all the way,
but the blade frequently caught on the foam and ripped it. So I just went with the foam measurer.


You may have more luck with a guillotine-style "chopping arm," that uses a larger blade, and chops vertically, rather than horizontally.
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#14 Ner Commando

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Posted 19 July 2009 - 11:16 AM

Thats really creative and makes good use of lego pieces. Knowing a little bit about mindstorms myself I'm sure that was super hard to program. Did you use the mindstorms software or C code for mindstorms to program it?
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#15 louiec3

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 04:05 PM

roboman- Even with a guillotine-style chopping arm it still wouldn't cut all the way through all the time.
Unless I made a hole so the blade can go through the foam, and the platform the foam rests on,
but that would lead to frequent jams and non straight cuts.

Ner Commando- I used the mindstorms software. The program is simple, but the massive amount of trial and error made me hate programing it.
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