• Demo development

    Fabio Vezzari09/01/2023 at 18:09 0 comments

    Exams and university projects are taking a lot of my time, but during this summer I managed to define a design which I believed was kind of definitive for the realization of a first rc prototype. However, I have started thinking about pursuing the idea of making an autonomous robots. During a summer school on maritime informatics I felt in love with autonomous underwater vehicles, so I want to try to learn and apply the basics of programming one. But I soon realised that there's still a long way to go to build a robot that can be called sea worthy, mostly in terms of money and software.

    So, let's take a small step: a test bench. 

    I am going to make a functional model robot that  won'tbe waterproofat first, but at least able to let me study the mechanical and software solutions one by one without the necessity to go for the entire construction in one go. Pretty obvious,  but not at first in my eyes, I started feeling the risk of building something that might not work and need to be improved.

    In a nutshell, I made a skeleton like hull and I will avoid building the water proof volumes for the electronics and every component that is not strictly focused on the tail movement. I already have the servos and the elegoo uno board, while I still need to 3d print the model to test on my desk, hopefully within a month! 

  • Propulsion mechanism and interchangeble parts

    Fabio Vezzari03/09/2023 at 14:23 0 comments

    I am almost done designing the mechanical systems of Nereid. I designed a trasmission mechanism, a joint for the fin and several other components to put the tail together and allow for interchangeble parts. I will wait for the first print of the robot to work on the fittings of several parts, since I can't ask a 3D printer to make precise clearances and interferences. 

    Anyway what is left to do is choosing a servo motor, design the seals, design the dive planes and work on the electronics and buoyancy. 

    Stay tuna!

  • Hull, bearings and plastic

    Fabio Vezzari01/19/2023 at 21:54 0 comments

    Studying steals me time from doing a full in depth showcase of the current progress, but so far I have designed the hull and bearing parts to allow Nereid to flex, discretely (pun intended). In fact, this robot will be divided in 4 parts to describe a waving/flapping motion: head, first half of the tail, second half and fin. This requires the parts to rotate around the z axis and to not block each other, so I worked on this and on the bearings to make this rotations possible under a certain loads.

    Here a screen shot of the external result so far.

    A big decision that made this 3d design possible is the use of 3d printed PETG and other assembling pieces made of special plastics. This will allow me to implement a big variety of complex surfaces that this bio-mimetic robot needs,  meanwhile other sturdier plastic components will help me run from the problem of rust. However, plastic is a choise that I have to carefully ponder, because seaworthiness needs to go hand in hand with biocompatibility.

    Selecting the right materials will be crucial, but it won't be hard. Plastic components can be very reliable and durable and I have easily found affordable components  on several websites, some for offshore and others for medical use. An interesting intersection of markets.

    What's next? 

    I managed to make a rough estimate of the tail loads in order to consider a simple kinematic mechanism and a trasmission system. Those are going to be the next groups of components to be implemented on the cad.

    This project will probably become a long one, so I will be thinking on how to give it a better purpose...maybe I will organize a crowdfunding to build Nereid and later opensourcing the entire project. But let's see what happens with each mile of swimming through this adventure.

    See you on the next update!

  • First step, hull length and shape

    Fabio Vezzari11/26/2022 at 10:50 0 comments

    Welcome to my first log, I will be coincise and straightforward as I hope to have the time to put more detailed explanations in the details section. But as I mentioned before, this project is more focused on a simple build from where to start a project with a more scientific and scrupulous approach.

    As I want to build and efficient robot that mimicks the kinematic of a tuna, I will choose the geometry of a Thunnus thynnus whose plans are well documented in "The design of a flexible hull undersea vehicle propelled by an oscillating foil" (Barrett, 1994). It should be quite hydrodynamic, even though I simplified the geometry by sweeping the elliptical cross sections of costant ratios along parabolic curves.

    Once I chose the geometry, I defined the lenghth using the strouhal number formula for caudal propelling fishes. I imposed a Strouahl number of 0.3 for best efficiency, a cruising frequency of 3Hz as it is in many species and a swimming speed of 0.5 m/s. By imposing these numbers and linking the peak to peak foil amplitude to the body length (15% as mentioned in "The Kinematics and Dynamics of Undulatory Motion, Masoomi, 2015), I got an overall length of 650mm. 

    Consequently, I divided the overall length in head (rigid body, 46%), tail (ondulating  part, 33%) and caudal fin (foil, 21%).  Those divisions are derived from "Tunabot flex, White, 2021" and other works of George Lauder. The latter has published several anatomical and kinematics studies about Thunnus Albacares. 

    The foil design is a big topic to discuss later on, but at least I have the lengths of the moving part of the robot and the  rigid one.