Hello and welcome to another post in the blog series on using FPGAs in Robotics. So far the series has concentrated on the construction of a 17 DOF robotic kit, which was purchased without any assembly instructions. This kit, when fully constructed, will be central to this series of blog posts and should be controlled using one of Altera's Cyclone family of FPGAs on a development board or kit. In this blog post I will finish the construction of the lower limbs and add the waist bracket, which will eventually act as our Inertial Frame when the Denavit-Hartenberg parametric representation of articulated joints is considered.
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Quite recently I set myself a task to print in 3D one object, out of many, from a 3D scene in AutoCAD. How this is, or should be done, left me perplexed for a while. However, I soon realised that this objective is not too difficult a thing to do, like most objectives, once you know what you are doing, or are supposed to be doing! Especially, where in my case, probably like with most 3D printers, the printer's application software accepts 3D models in the .stl or Lithography format. By the way, in case you don't already know, my 3D printer is an UP! Mini 3D Printer.
With this objective in mind, in this blog post I demonstrate how I 3D print AutoCAD models using any 3D printer in general and the UP! Mini 3D printer in particular. Hence, the method should work for any 3D printer software that supports the .stl file format.
In my last blog post, on the 17 Degrees-of-Freedom (DOF) Biped Robot in Robotics using FPGAs, I expressed my slight concern about the stability of the robot due to the four screws protruding out of the Robot's footbase. The screws are used to attach each footbase to a multi-functional servo bracket. This lead me to take a break from the assembly and see what I could do about it.
What I discovered while designing the "shoes" is that it could be possible to redesign all of the robot parts in a Computer Aided Design (CAD) package and create a 3D printed robot like Intel's Jimmy the 21st Century Robot. However before I got too carried away with designing a 3D printed robot I firstly designed the "shoes" and the method I used to design this covering, using AutoCAD, is the subject of this blog post.