3d printed beatjazz headset: Pre-alpha build update
For future reference, whenever I am not posting or updating my status, I am working. There is so much going on during these hack sessions that to update on each step would be too much. The side benefit is that I so want to update you on the progress of things that it helps me to maintain focus so I can drop something dope on you when I do post.
After the Dresden gig, it was straight back and straight into learning CAD (computer aided design) and sound design exercises. Having finally achieved a stable print with the reprap, I wanted to forge ahead with designing the new controller as well as various other 3d printed beatjazz system crowdfunding campaign perks. Adding these printed perks to the campaign was done intentionally to force myself to have to jump into CAD and make something viable with it in the short term. I was very fortunate to have friend show and allow me to use the CAD software he uses for his work, called Solidworks (My product trial copy is on the way...yaaaay!!!). ah-may-zing! You can design a whole car in this joint! It is completely parametric so I can make sure that everything is exactly the size I need it to be. It has been a bit of a stretch to go to his flat to refine the parts I create in freecad, but it is worth it for the extra detail I am able to impart.
So now, it has been a week that I have been printing parts and even though it’s not completed, I wanted to show you what I have been working on. This is the basic design of the headset. The premise is that it should be adjustable for any size adult head so I have left a lot of spacing between components, owing to the enormity of my own noggin. The design hinges at the jaw and the mouthpiece base rest on the chin. I will be starting on the design of the mouthpiece today (I ran out of the white plastic filament that came with the reprap and will continue once the black and "robot silver" filament arrive). The rear-of-head brace will also adjust for various head sizes. The "plumbing"-for the pressure tube and wiring-will be internal in this first design (subject to change)
The iterative aspects of CAD and 3d printing are incredible. The ability to add in exact dimensions and channels for electronics, and air tubing allow for a design that is much more compact, durable, light and comfortable than was previously possible. As well, the design can be change so easily and cheaply, I could design a beatjazz controller for very specific purposes (music therapy, burning man, busking, acrobatics, etc.) and never worry about being too protective of being harsh with it because another one is simply a matter of printing replacement parts.
Interestingly, the design of one part, rewrites the design of each subsequent part. The current look of the headset stems from the chunky design of the jaw hinge, which vectored away from the "scaffolding" design concept of the parts before it. (and this is the first week of doing any of this type of design! imagine a year from now.) Once I can hold it in my hand, the next step seems to create itself. For me this is perfect. I am much better with physical objects than with their onscreen representations.
Also, the reprap itself has been leeching into the design. The reprap's ingenious common components/custom assembly design has been a big inspiration. As with the reprap, I hope to make 70% of the non-electronics components of this system, printable and downloadable with the software (and linked to the reprap open source wiki to encourage the building of one’s own 3d printer as well). Its intersection of screws and bolts mated to self-printed parts is a design concept that I can see making waves in the next few coming years and beyond.
The plastic itself, PLA-Polylactic acid- is plant, rather than petroleum based. It is strong, non-toxic and can biodegrade in a landfill, although it won’t biodegrade in regular use. This really suits me as a means of expressing myself in a manner that won’t make a bad situation (pollution) worse.
Next will be the hand units. This will be pretty easy because once I design one hand, the CAD software will let me mirror it and print out a version for the opposite hand. From that point, it is all about getting them to the contributors so they can have as much fun as me!
So wanted to update you on the progress of the system. There is still loads of work to be done, but things are progressing nicely. Gotta get back to work. Holla...