A linkage-based character designed with Linkage and simulated in Algodoo.
This work utilises human knowledge of mechanics and dynamics of linkage systems to create morphological structures, and it inspired me greatly.
The Process of Making
Stage 1 - Study
Wolf is a symbol of guardianship, ritual, loyalty, and spirit. I love the character of wolf and I'd like to build a robotic wolf myself as a pet since I was very young. it says the personality traits of the wolf are those of powerful instinct, intuition, and high intelligence, living in a community.
My exploration starts with a thorough research on the anatomy of wolves to understand their body structure and movement patterns.
Image source: https://arnatornwolf.deviantart.com
I also made some initial sketches to trace wolves' leg movement patterns on my sketchbook. This would allow me to better understand and define the desired coupler curve space in later stages.
Analysis shows that, the walking mechanism of a wolf is appropriate challenging but intuitive to understand.
Given the time constraint and my skill levels, I traced the primary linkage mechanism based on the movement of a wolf's four legs, the head, and the tail, ignoring other complex structures.
Stage 2 - Design
Mobility - calculated by CKG (Chebychev-Kutzback-Grubler) criterion.
In this project, each leg is modelled by 6-bar linkages (Klann) with multiple 4-bar linkages. Two actuators were first implement to simulate the motion and this would be replaced by gears & belts afterwards.
Technical difficult -> Reasons for unstable structure - why would things blow up in Algodoo?
I used parallel linkage mechanism for in-phase rotation, using two circles with internal gears of collision plus friction for a change of rotational direction.
The final look of the linkage structure in completion.
I used springs to create more realistic feeling of walking. The spring constant is set to a small value due to negligible mass of objects, but the damping factor is set to a large value in order to achieve critical or even over-damped 'oscillation' of the system.
Adding the 'skin' to my robo-wolf.
With a monotone colour code to the desired artisitc effect.
Learning & Reflection
This project enabled me to use creative engineering tools to accompolish tasks that involve linkage structures. During the process, I learnt to solve problem by using Community Forum effectively and look for documents and learn from trial-and-error independently.
I learnt that a systemic debug process is important, and a standard operation procedure will save me much time.
The best way to keep learning in mind is to document everything clearly (and with a narrative) in a logbook. A ditigal lookbook that allows me to insert pictures (like OneNote) was of great help during the execution of the project.
Good pictures and study on wolf: https://mantasganebnas.wordpress.com/anatomy-reference-wolf/
High-quality wolf pictures, accurate drawings & dimensions: https://art-helpfultutorials.weebly.com/canines.html