4/22/2011 Update: Sticky Pads, Joint Lockers, Boom Deployers, and a Simulator Ball

Quick Updates for the day:

  • Did some brainstorming on the Sticky Pad design. We were able to come up with some approaches that we think will minimize peel loads and maximize the amount of surface area that is actively gripping the target, and also worked out some ideas on how to do the pads that should make them pretty easy to get fabricated. We’re hoping to have the first set of them to test sometime lat next week with our “2A gripper” prototype. It’s basically the second round of gripper design work, and the first iteration of that round. It’ll be half of the overall gripper, with just enough pieces to validate the joint locking and other necessary integrated behavior.
  • I also was able to get the joint lockers designed, and came up with a good method for measuring the joint angles (you need a pretty tiny sensor for a gripper this small). The hope is something that can eventually be used to automagically tell the gripper joints when to lock and the EA pads when to turn on. But for these flights we will probably be just using them to log data so we can compare their real-life behavior to the modeled behavior. The joint lock hardware should be in by the end of next week, the sensors might have to wait for the second iteration.
  • We did a design review for the boom deployer. Mike’s come up with some good concepts that should package fairly tightly, and still be relatively cheap to make. I’m really liking this Rolatube boom, and I think there’s a good chance that by the end of next week we’ll have the flight boom deployer being put together. Here’s a model Mike made of the system. The wall facing us would actually be aluminum, but he made it transparent to view the inards.

    Rolatube Boom Deployer Rev A Rendering

  • We also got the simulator ball that we’re going to be trying to grab on the Zero-G flight. It’s made of a non-magnetic stainless steel. We’ll probably also do a hamster ball as well, but this one is a little heavier (but not much) which may behave differently.
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