Supplyframe has been making a web-series following the progress of all the DesignLab residents, and the first segment about Perceptoscope was released this week! Check it out above.
On the fabrication side, I wanted to take a stab at vacuum forming the positives that were 3D printed last week, so I headed to Crash Space to catch up with Steve and play with the machine there.
After you place the objects you want to form onto the vacuum bed, ceramic heaters at the top of the machine soften a plastic sheet so it's super malleable and saggy.
Then when it's ready to pull, you switch on the vacuum and drop the plastic down over your positives, creating a thin shell replica of your positive.
We experimented with a variety of materials, and had to be careful to not overheat the plastic to the point of melting completely. The PLA printed positives were also warped a bit by the heat, so we'll definitely go for MDF for the final full sized positive. Even though each pull had its quirks, it was nice to get a sense of any issues so I can go back and revise the designs. Things should move pretty fast when we head into production.
I also took a moment to layout the now finished bearing block against the previously fabricated yoke. The fit was perfect and that mirror finished aluminum looks sick next to the surface rusted steel pipe.
The DesignLab's Resident Engineer Dan and I also worked through the set of tooling operations needed to mill the rest of the bearing blocks. There's still a couple of things to perfect, but it feels like we have a good rhythm to it now.
The big steps left are making the MDF positive, putting together the in house vacuum former, pulling the full size shells, and starting to assemble and integrate all the components into new Scopes. There's a lot to do, but we're moving at a good pace.