How did it turn out?
Overall, I’m pretty ecstatic with how this project turned out. Amazingly, my scope and vision turned out to be nearly identical to my initial idea and conceptual design. However, the way that I executed that vision (internal components) turned out to be quite a challenge and rather unexpected. I ended up opening a can of worms I didn’t really want to open, but I’m extremely glad that I did in retrospect because I learned some really valuable things to take with me to future projects. Gear design is crazy.
- Gear design is crazy. More specifically, getting 3D-printed gears to actuate things the way you want them to is a huge challenge, especially when you are implementing gear teeth onto parts that are not circular. But now, I know how to do it. That rocks.
- Sometimes, there’s no “easy way out.” The other designs I considered for actuation other than gears were total garbage and would not have worked with any sort of consistency.
- Your least engineered part is most likely going to be the part that makes your device fail, no matter how menial it may seem.
- Tolerances for FDM-printed parts need to be very loose otherwise things won’t fit together. By comparison, machining is *extremely* accurate.
- Corners must be filleted, especially if the part bears transverse loads about the corner.
- No scope creep – set a realistic goal and attain it with due diligence!
- Upload to Thingiverse with .stl files, a video and a small assembly guide. Hopefully it draws some attention (fingers crossed).
- Design a stand for it since it doesn’t stand upright on its feet. I’d like to put one on my mantle.
- Make a larger version with smaller gears. This should clear some additional space inside the box for more gears. I want to make the tail and the head move as well. Most likely, these will require different gear ratios, so this design change will be a solid challenge.
- Design a version that can be waterjet cut from aluminum and uses fasteners. It’d make a fine present!
- Make a version with a model of an actual buffalo rather than the CU logo. Long term challenge for sure.