Flowering Plant

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Flowering Plant

by JonCard » Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:08 am

I've attached a few sketches of a soft robot I want to make. It is essentially a flowering plant on a stem, but the stem can bend and the "petals" can grab from the air, like a venus flytrap. It is intended to be based on the art design of Brian Froud in the Dark Crystal. I would also like it to morph a bit; when the petals flex, I want shapes like a frog's eyes to rise out of the petals. I'm not sure what this will do to the flexing power of the petals. I'm also unsure exactly how to perform the casting. I think I can do it in two main parts: the stalk as a lost-wax process, and the petals as a two-part cast glued together, where the underside (stalk-side) is cast flat and glued to the back of the rest of the petals. If I did it as a single casting, I think the wax sculpting would be prohibitively difficult and I would have to have either 3 or 6 petals, but I would be able to have curved front and back of the petals. I think that will have to wait for another day.

It's still a primitive stage of the design process on this one, but I think it's doable, based on GiantEye's Trefoil Tentacle and the Gripper I found on Instructables here: http://www.instructables.com/id/Air-Pow ... c-Gripper/
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Re: Flowering Plant

by Gianteye » Sun Mar 16, 2014 5:04 am

I'm going to give this one some thought and try to do a detailed response later. On a first pass, it seems pretty doable. You might be able to get the flower to inflate with a texture like an eye on it by casting the silicone sheet that closes off the robot on top of a plastic sheet laser etched with the pattern you want. Since the silicone inflates variably based on the wall thickness of the inflated chambers, it seems like the additional thickness of the etching would change the inflation and turn some aspect of the texture 3d.

You might also think about having a hollow central shaft through the tentacle so you can pipe the air lines to the flower. You wouldn't even need to make the thing that forms that shaft out of silicone. You could just put a metal rod in there with a hole to line it up in the wax core and a hole to line it up at the other end of the mold. When you pull it out of the final cured cast you've got a hollow tube you can hide your flower's power source in.
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