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waterfall printer

Discussion in 'Electronic Projects Design/Ideas/Reviews' started by kagan09, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. microtexan

    microtexan New Member

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    Let me interject my thoughts here. I looked closely at the video several times and I have come to the conclusion the whole thing is CGI, done in a computer. Look at the water, there is not enough water running off the car for this to be real. Looks great and could probably be done for real, especially with the ideas already presented. What a great project this would be.
     
  2. microtexan

    microtexan New Member

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  3. Mr RB

    Mr RB Well-Known Member

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  4. dave

    Dave New Member

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  5. 4pyros

    4pyros Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Check out Geyserbot

    The Art of Motion Control : Subcategory
     
  6. cr0sh

    cr0sh Member

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    Homebrew Waterfall Display HOWTO @ phoenixgarage.org

    All - after reading this thread today, I think I have an idea on how to implement such a system really cheaply, using mostly off-the-shelf items. I wrote up a little text HOWTO on my website here:

    Homebrew Waterfall Display HOWTO @ phoenixgarage.org

    There's no pictures or drawings, so I hope my description is clear enough. I haven't built it, I don't even know if it would work. But everyone's more than free to adapt it, build it, and try to make it work. I would love to see someone succeed!

    :)
     
  7. cr0sh

    cr0sh Member

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    Homebrew Waterfall Display HOWTO @ phoenixgarage.org

    All - after thinking about it a bit, I thought I would repost my article here as well; for posterity, or as a backup; whatever. It will also allow people to more easily discuss it with it being on the forum rather than another website. If you have any questions, or want/need clarification, I will try to do what I can to clear up any confusion (and if drawings would help, I can try to supply those - but I'm no artist!):

    Homebrew Waterfall Display HOWTO @ phoenixgarage.org

    After reading this thread today...and the responses, and watching the videos; it got me to thinking how it could be implemented in as cheap a manner as possible. After thinking about it for a while (a few hours), I think I have found an idea on how to implement the valves, very cheaply (but there's going to be a bit of fabrication involved, TANSTAAFL); if you implement this, please at least throw a bit of credit my way, OK? Thanks. I'd build this myself, but I don't have the time or inclination. I honestly don't know if this system would work, but it seems to me that the idea is what is most important; I am sure someone out there could get this to work with some experimentation.

    This device (well, one valve) could be easily built in an afternoon to test out a single instance of it; for a decent home-brew waterfall printer system, you'd probably want 100 of these spaced about 1/2 inch or so apart.

    First, buy a whole mess of cheapo BIC "round stic" pens; a 10-pack is a $1.98 USD on Amazon right now, I'm sure you can find more for cheaper. Take the cone-shaped tip off each pen; discard the rest of the pen.

    Then, buy an equal number of 1/8 inch chrome-plated steel ball bearings from smallparts.com (or another vendor).

    Then get a piece of PVC or ABS pipe (length will depend on how many valves you want and their spacing - I think 100 is easily doable, if time consuming to fabricate). It should be about 1.5-2.0 inches in diameter; why will be explained later. This will form an "upper trough" for water; you'll need to fabricate a stand or something for it to hold it level. You could easily do this with more pieces of PVC. Just remember to leave things in such a state as to allow the disassembly of the display for cleaning and/or maintenance.

    Along the length of the pipe, using a drill press, drill a line of "spotter" holes, perhaps 1/8 inch in diameter, spaced equally (approximately 1/2-3/4 inches apart).

    Then, pick one side or the other's line of holes, and drill these holes the diameter of the inset section of the pen tips (there's an inset that fits into the tube body of the pen, about a 1/2 inch long; when you take one of the pens apart, you'll see what I mean); you want these holes a tad smaller than the pen tip (maybe 5mm - yeah, I mix it up - sue me) for a tight friction fit. You'll fit the pen tips into these holes later. For the opposite set of holes, drill them out slightly larger (you'll need to play with the diameter - you'll see why in a bit).

    Notice that one open end of the pen tip is wider (~1/4 inch) than the other end (< 1/8 inch), while our steel ball bearings are 1/8 inch in diameter. This is going to form the valve.

    Take a ordinary steel nail, one which has a diameter of the larger "top" hole(s) on the pipe trough that was drilled. This needs to be measured, so that from the head to the end is the length of approximately 1 inch, plus enough to span the pipe and fit down inside the BIC pen tip, minus the diameter of the ball, plus about 1/8 of an inch. You will likely need to cut the nail so that it is this length; after cutting it, chuck it in a drill and wind a coil using magnet wire from the head down an inch, and form a coil about 1/2 inch in diameter (you will need to add fiber or rubber washers at each end to form the coil properly). Count the number of turns of wire needed (or build a winder of some sort); you want every valve to be the same. Once you have the coil wound, check its resistance - verify that there's continuity, and that its resistance seems reasonable for the gauge of wire being used. Tape the wire down so it doesn't come unwound, then remove the nail from the drill, and use polyurethane, epoxy, or something to coat the coil, and let it dry. Once dry, file the cut end of the nail it flat. Then give the entire nail and coil another couple of coats of polyurethane, etc (this is ultimately to prevent corrosion from happening). Each nail you fabricate should be as identical in fabrication as possible. This is why the upper trough can't be too large in diameter, because you are constructing an electromagnet attractor, and the coil is at one end - if the diameter of the pipe were larger, then these homemade coils would have to be made beefier to work, if they could be made to work at all.

    Once the nail is dry, it is stuck through the upper hole (and this is where you may need to play with the diameter, because of the polyurethane coating, mainly) and down into the BIC pen tip, where the end is just slightly above the steel ball bearing. Now - let us suppose we have things set up so that below the valve there is a catch basin for water, and a pump which has enough power to raise the water to the height of the trough. If things were set up right, with water added to the system, the pump would pump the water up and "flood" the upper trough pipe with water, above the level of the ends of the BIC pen tips, so that water flowed into the tips, but met the blockage of the 1/8 inch steel bearings. Now, hopefully, the balls will seal the tips well enough so that water didn't leak, but I doubt that it will be perfect, since this is homebrew and such. Now, all that would need to be done to activate the valve would be to apply voltage/current to its respective electromagnet; this would cause the ball to rise and stick to the end of the electromagnet, which is positioned a very short distance away, but enough to allow water to flow around the ball and out the tip, hopefully in a droplet form. When the electromagnet is shut off, the gravity and the flow of the water should move the ball back down into the tip, plugging the end again. Due to the small distances and sizes involved, it should be possible to achieve fairly high open/close oscillation speeds to create small droplets.

    Implementing the electronic hardware to actuate the electromagnets is fairly straightforward; a BJT or FET drive to handle the current, perhaps driven via a bank of shift registers or such, with the data clocked in via a microcontroller.
     
  8. julfi

    julfi New Member

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    Hi there !

    i am in the middle of building this project and im stucked with valves. I got some prices and yes, way too expensive (40€). Now, im trying to figure out, is water really falling just by gravity ? what would happened if it would be 2bar of presure ?

    has anybody found a proper solution to valves ? i actually found crosh's idea pretty interesting

    cheers
     
  9. 3v0

    3v0 Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter

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    Some pages ago I suggested the use of solenoids to position the water outlet so the water falls, or goes into a catch tray just below the outlet that returns the water to the sump. It has the same visual effect of turning the water off but we divert it instead.

    This ensures constant water flow through all orifices and should be less expensive then valves.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2011
  10. Mosaic

    Mosaic Well-Known Member

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    Julfi., have u figured the approach to driving the valves from a pic yet? As in how to get the sequential gfx data to the pic and then to the valves?
     
  11. julfi

    julfi New Member

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    Im writing software in c# in which i have libraries for my board. So you write a basic drawing app with which you turn your drawing to single bit picture. Transform white to zeros and black to ones (with right resolution) and send it to board line by line, like the printer is doing. Width of a line is calculated by number of valves, hight with valves accuracy.

    how you solved the valves part ? im still trying to figure out cr0shs idea

    sorry for my engrish :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2011
  12. Mosaic

    Mosaic Well-Known Member

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    Working on a few ideas....might get some results in a week or so.
     
  13. SABorn

    SABorn New Member

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    I too have given a lot of thought to how this could be done cheaply, and one thought that came to mind was a rotating drum that a shallow constant level of water was retained in the drum, and the circumference of the drum was cut out and replaced with a template of the image with punched holes in the template to make up the image.

    As the drum rotated the water would flow through the template holes creating the print.

    This dont allow for constant changes of images, but would be a cheap solution to create a novel effect.

    The template would be rather easy to create with a CNC router into a plastic sheet or could even be etched into a thin copper sheet.

    Pete.
     
  14. Mosaic

    Mosaic Well-Known Member

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    what kind of solenoid speed is req'd?
    10hz, 20hz?
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2011
  15. Sceadwian

    Sceadwian Banned

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    20hz might do it.
     
  16. cr0sh

    cr0sh Member

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    Hmm - now that's led me to an interesting thought:

    What if you could charge a belt or roller opposite to the charge of water (negative charge?), and "draw" the image on the belt/roller with droplets of water, then as the belt/roller rotated facing "down", release the charge, dropping a "line" of droplets...?

    Kinda like toner in a laser printer or copier...
     
  17. Mosaic

    Mosaic Well-Known Member

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    20Hz works out to a minimum detail 9" by mid fall in a 12.5' drop length, or 5.5% of the 12.5' => edges of curves etc. may be flattened some => unless u keep the gfx large. To say it another way, the smallest vert. line u could make would be 9" tall.

    That would make an arrow going horizontally have a VERY blunt tip.
     
  18. kagan09

    kagan09 New Member

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    hey people i was told on another forum that i could have water flowing continuously from the tubes, but have it deflected down a waste gutter by a solenoid. When the flow is not deflected, you get a visible stream, otherwise it is hidden.
    That should allow you to use a cheap servo, like $4.05 - SG90 Mini Servo with Gears and Parts (2Kg Torque) - R/C Helicopters.
    what you guys reckon would it work?
     
  19. 4pyros

    4pyros Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Thats to slow,
    Andy
     
  20. 3v0

    3v0 Coop Build Coordinator Forum Supporter

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    I suggest using a solenoid to deflect continuous flow twice in this thread. The last was post #48.
     
  21. kagan09

    kagan09 New Member

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    Should i use microcontrollers or FPGA's for my project ? why ?
     

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