Rapid Prototyping with Cardboard
Before coming to ITP, I had never used Adobe Illustrator (Ai) or a laser cutter. I’m very happy that has changed.
I was previously working on an automated dog feeder project, but had been struggling with material handling. My original design involved a single ramp inside a box, angled toward an opening in the bottom that was blocked by a piece moved by a servo. Unfortunately, the dog food would continuously jam in the opening with this method.
I redesigned the whole thing for version 2.
The new design funnels the dog food to a single point and dumps it into a “wheel” with cross sections that catch the food. The cross section wheel is moved by a servo, which dumps the controlled amount into a final chute and comes out into the dog’s bowl from there:
I grabbed a spare cardboard box and cut it into long pieces with a box cutter:
Building out a template file in Ai:
It’s alive! I used 30% speed and 90% power to start with, had to make 2 passes:
My first cut on a laser cutter:
Putting the pieces together:
Hard to tell from the photo, but they’re a little lose after the first try:
I reduced the gap down to .15″ and played with a variety of sizes for the circle and height of the X:
I settled on a 7″ circle with 3″ high sides:
Setting up my breadboard + arduino + servo: