Friday, September 22, 2017

Construction of the pirate ship and other props going well


The standalone cannon is nearly complete. We have some detail painting to put onto the cannon base to finish it off. We also completed the treasure chest, other than loading up more sham jewels and trinkets.
Standalone cannon (will also have an LED light inside)

Treasure chest ready for more 'loot'
The mechanism is almost finished to pop up a cardboard lifesize head of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, coming up over the side near the stern when directed by the Arduino program. I had to counterbalance the lever that swings up the head to minimize the force on the rotary actuator, with just enough excess weight on the head side to drop it down when the actuator swings to the lowered position.

Head as it is popping up behind ship
The mechanism is build with a cutdown yardstick rotating on a screw. I am still working out the proper counterweight to have the head raise with minimum force, as the actuator rotates out of the way, but be pushed down as the actuator rotates in the other direction. My first counterweight was one pair of kitchen scissors, but they are just a bit too heavy for the head when I tested it.

I also have to contend with some front to back skewing of the yardstick, which might scrape the head on the ship boards or even jam its top under the board. I built two plastic guide strips on which the head will slide, protected from damage. These are attached over the top of the ship board and then down inside the back.

Rough pivot mechanism during testing
My test with the small rotary actuator highlighted inadequate torque to rotate even an almost perfectly balanced mechanism. I ordered a more powerful linear solenoid that will pull with 45N of force (10 pounds of pull), with a stroke of about 2/3 of an inch. Placed near the pivot of the mechanism that should work nicely. It will arrive on Sunday.

I was expecting my audio effects boards, amplifiers and speakers to complete the cannon shot sounds, as they were sent with a promised Prime delivery date from Amazon of yesterday, but instead they are now quoting indefinite estimates and offering some undeclared 'additional options' if I don't have the parts by Sunday.

Very disappointing when they flub this stuff. Hopefully I can reorder with one day deliver at no additional charge but possibly they won't offer to waive the shipping charges needed to compensate for their failure (or bad choice of shipping partners, in this case OnTrac).

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