For my mechanical flower here are the top 5 constraints and specifications. Some of the post is about the work I’ve already done, but others are for future consideration.
- It has to open and close uniformly. If you manually close the flowers, all other petals should move with the ones you’re holding. This motion itself was addressed with a rack and pinion. To achieve the uniformity, I used a 6 sided rack that was completely symmetrical. The petals of the flower were also all identical so that when the rack itself moved, all the petals moved with it.
- The opening needs to be smooth. Unneeded friction is detrimental for this design. To achieve this I’m doing two things. The first is the manufacturing method. 3D printing with PLA has a small resolution, which may interfere with my design so I’m going to either resin print, or print in a different method with a higher resolution. I also created mathematical equations to design the gear teeth. This will allow only one point of contact at any given moment, minimizing the friction.
- It needs to have a darker, kinda muted coloring. The idea is that it’s a flower that blooms in the night. So I’d like for its daytime appearance to be rather boring, and for its night time appearance to be stunning.
- It needs to look like a flower. This is all in the design, which I’ve already completed for the most part. I personally love the design so this shouldn’t be a problem.
- I’d like for it to be big. Go big or go home, I’ve designed the piece to be roughly 10 inches across when the flower is in the open position. This is rather large for a flower, so I’d say it meets my expectations.
- Sizing: Most of the complex works are all happening in a very tight area around the rack gear. The sizing needs to work our so that there’s no issues here.
- Actuation: I wanted the flower to automatically open however that’s not going to be the case. Now I have to figure out other ways to open and close the flower, and ensure that it does so uniformly.
- Manufacturing: So far I’ve had trouble printing with the resin printer I have been. I’ve recently learned that this is due to the size of the printer’s bed, so my print is occurring in an unfavorable position, allowing my gear teeth to sag as it hardens. This has not only created unneeded friction, but has also caused the teeth to shatter since the material is rather brittle. I’d need to find a way around this.
- It needs to stay together. I don’t want my flower to fall apart easily, and a weak structure can allow for that. Ideally, it’s be easy to transport without any issues.
- Easy to handle: Now since the flower is going to be hand held, I need to find a way to easily open and close it as I believe it would be rather awkward to do so in its current design.