Presentation Title

Mechanical Design and Optimization of a Seven Function Animatronic System

Location

Nessmith-Lane Atrium

Session Format

Poster Presentation

Research Area Topic:

Engineering and Material Sciences - Mechanical

Abstract

Animatronics is a specialized sub-category of mechatronics, a fusion of mechanical and electrical engineering. The field has grown from small, individual projects into a major industry. As animatronics progress, mechanical engineers are pushed to design internal structures which occupy ever-decreasing spaces and to ensure their designs can undergo maintenance and modifications smoothly. This research investigates methods of reducing the space required for mechanisms and several other beneficial methods of animatronic development as well as the difference in satisfaction for audiences when exposed to actor-controlled systems rather than pre-scripted functions. This particular animatronic system is designed to allow for additive engineering; the entire project is built as a foundation for a continuous research endeavor. The mechanical systems are designed using 3D CAD software available at Georgia Southern University. Several on-campus, manufacturing resources are used to prototype and develop final materials for the animatronic. 3D printing and wood laser cutting are used as prototyping methods to reduce costs and test digital designs before manufacturing with more expensive materials. Aluminum plates are used in collaboration with a CNC mill and plasma cutter to manufacture durable and robust components. Finally, all mechanical systems are designed to increase cycle life, minimizing the necessity for consistent upkeep and preventative maintenance. The research involves selection of electronics and drive systems that are interfaced with mechanical components for automated operations. At the completion of the research endeavor, a lifelike animatronic eagle will have the ability to either rest on a custom-manufactured perch or on the arm of a mobile actor. In both situations, users are provided the ability to control the eagle through pre-scripted loops or real-time actor input. At the conclusion of this research, it will be determined whether or not the additional time required to implement actor control is advantageous in regards to anticipated, higher results of satisfaction from audiences.

Presentation Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

Start Date

4-16-2016 2:45 PM

End Date

4-16-2016 4:00 PM

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Apr 16th, 2:45 PM Apr 16th, 4:00 PM

Mechanical Design and Optimization of a Seven Function Animatronic System

Nessmith-Lane Atrium

Animatronics is a specialized sub-category of mechatronics, a fusion of mechanical and electrical engineering. The field has grown from small, individual projects into a major industry. As animatronics progress, mechanical engineers are pushed to design internal structures which occupy ever-decreasing spaces and to ensure their designs can undergo maintenance and modifications smoothly. This research investigates methods of reducing the space required for mechanisms and several other beneficial methods of animatronic development as well as the difference in satisfaction for audiences when exposed to actor-controlled systems rather than pre-scripted functions. This particular animatronic system is designed to allow for additive engineering; the entire project is built as a foundation for a continuous research endeavor. The mechanical systems are designed using 3D CAD software available at Georgia Southern University. Several on-campus, manufacturing resources are used to prototype and develop final materials for the animatronic. 3D printing and wood laser cutting are used as prototyping methods to reduce costs and test digital designs before manufacturing with more expensive materials. Aluminum plates are used in collaboration with a CNC mill and plasma cutter to manufacture durable and robust components. Finally, all mechanical systems are designed to increase cycle life, minimizing the necessity for consistent upkeep and preventative maintenance. The research involves selection of electronics and drive systems that are interfaced with mechanical components for automated operations. At the completion of the research endeavor, a lifelike animatronic eagle will have the ability to either rest on a custom-manufactured perch or on the arm of a mobile actor. In both situations, users are provided the ability to control the eagle through pre-scripted loops or real-time actor input. At the conclusion of this research, it will be determined whether or not the additional time required to implement actor control is advantageous in regards to anticipated, higher results of satisfaction from audiences.