Fall semester 2018:
Last semester the mechanical division worked diligently with the electrical division on designing enclosures needed for the many electronics. The mechanical division also worked on multiple prototypes including a new and improved manipulator, custom waterproof enclosures, and waterproof motors.
Frame Design 2019:
The frame design of 2019 is a revised version of 2018’s frame. In 2019, the main enclosure was changed from a cast acrylic tube to a die cast aluminum rectangular enclosure. This change allows for multiple improvements over 2018’s design. The first improvement is that a square enclosure allowed for more modularity and flexibility in design. This meant that failing electrical components could be switched out faster and more efficient than before. The electrical wiring was also simplified by using shorter runs. The second improvement is thermal conditions of the electronics. Multiple electrical components (power regulators and motor controllers) have the ability to get very hot if they are not properly cooled. The rectangular metal design allows for full thermal contact between the electronics and the enclosure. This contact translates to these components now being water cooled!
Manipulator Design 2019:
With the shortcomings of last manipulator, the mechanical division was able to learn quite a lot. The first lesson was that 3D printed parts are good for prototypes and underwater testing but not for the final parts in high stress areas. The mechanical division this year is working to use 3D printed parts to verify this designs. These verified designs will then be machined out of metal.
Last year, parts of the manipulator were rushed and not thoroughly tested. This to failures that caused delays. To combat this, the mechanical division is doing more rapid prototyping and multiple computer simulations including FEA (Finite element analysis), CFD (Computational fluid dynamics), and thermal analysis. The use of these advanced engineering tools should lead to fewer failures and delays. The mechanical division also has multiple groups working on the sub components of the manipulator. This means the team has multiple options on the design on a manipulator. The multiple designs will all be tested and compared to each other with the best design becoming the final manipulator for the ROV.
The electronics and main enclosure are in the final process of being fitted with the frame. This means that the ROV will start moving in the water very soon.
Systems like the manipulator are currently in the design phase. The current schedule is to have prototypes of these designs being tested by mid-February. This means that the ROV is predicted to be practicing competition tasks by the end of February
Stay tuned for more mechanical updates!