Thursday, April 23, 2015

There won't be anymore TARS Project Report

I am studying for the finals.

SO, there won't be anymore TARS Project Report as the title said.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Interstellar TARS Model Project Interim Report - 6

Interstellar TARS Model Project
Interim Report - VI

Object--to report recent activities and research

I. Introduction
I did not know that the lab had the backup mirror and lens. Although they said that the backup lens is not as strong as the one before. It can only cut like 0.1 inches thick acrylic plate or something. However, all I needed to cut was merely vinyl wraps, so I did not have to worry about it. I realized that I was the only one using the laser cutter at the time since no one really knew that they had backup lens.

II. Engraving
I found that the font for the word "TARS" is Trade Gothic. However, well, there are quite a lot of different Trade Gothic fonts, and I wanted to use the real font that TARS had. Thus, I captured TARS from the DVD and moved to Photoshop to get that font.

I filled in the words and background with black and white so that the machine can recognize to engrave the black areas. While black parts burned by the laser, they left burned yellow-gold color on the plate. I simply used an alcohol pad to clean those up.

This is a video of engraving. Just in case if you had missed this video from the previous post.
I see majorities of people fill these words and brailles with gold. However, I found that the color of these are  not gold, but rather they are bronze. It is kind of looks gold, but I decided to use bronze. Detailed on this should be discussed later.

Fig. 1. After Engraving [1]

II. Assembly
I received magnets finally! They just fit in tight and nice. I had to give at least a tiny bit of more space for the magnets to fit in, but I did not consider that. They fit in nicely; it is just I had to use clamps to keep them together until glue dries

Fig. 2. Overview of parts and magnets. [1]
Fig. 3. Magnets fit in where they are supposed to be fitted in. [1]
Fig. 4. Clamps Holding the Figure [1]
FIg. 5. Looks Similar? [1]
The laser cutter is back! Now I can continue from where I left. The project is getting better and better. I cannot relax yet because no one knows what will happen. So far so good.

Unless separately mentioned,
- [1] Hosung Won @ All Rights Reserved, All pictures and researches in this post were made and done by Hosung Won

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Here is a video of engraving TARS on Interstellar Project

Oh by the way, I figured out a better way of making easy
production of TARS. The video above is the one accepted such method.

Yet, it will be very limiting to work on by myself.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Interstellar TARS Model Project Second Temporary Suspension Report

Interstellar TARS Model Project
Second Temporary Suspension Report

Object--To explain why the project must come to a temporary suspension

I. Introduction
My attempt to improve the result of the figure must come to a temporary suspension because of a malfunction or more likely because of a broken parts of a laser cutter I always use.

II. Laser Cutter Malfunction
Oh well, I was very excited to continue on the project after my Chemistry test. I decided to give a little bit of modification on the blueprint which is to change the thickness of the lines on the surface from 0.03 inches to 0.02 inches. However, when I arrived at Lab and started a laser cutter, I could not see a red laser pointer on the board. This red dot point is to help located where to start cutting. I asked one of the assistants there; he opened the laser cutter's pointer tip and found that the mirror and lens were broken.

Fig. 1. Broken Laser Cutter's Mirror and Lens [1]
All assistants there were absolutely amazed by it. They were thinking how this could happen. I have not visited the lab since last Wednesday when is on 8 April 2015. Other assistant said that he found the laser cutter does not work during the day but did not report to anyone. For sure, I am not the one did this--I did not even start laser cutting because it was extraordinary to see that there is no red dot pointer. Also, they said the aluminum is something that must not or cannot damage the lens at all. They were thinking that someone used another kind of metal material to cut and the laser was reflected back into the mirror, eventually heated up the lens to destroy!

While they were discussing further the damage of the machine, I simply left the lab hoping that the machine to be fixed when I come back.

III. Conclusion
They estimated that it will probably take two weeks to fix the machine and the cost is approximately $300. I am not the one going to pay for this, but it really sucks to be unable to use the machine. I hope it will not take that long time to fix the machine.

Unless separately mentioned,
- [1] Hosung Won @ All Rights Reserved.

Friday, April 10, 2015

I Passed Learner's Permit

Yay! :)

I don't have a car though :(

- I do not share any test information
- The picture was taken after the exam completely ended.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Ducks in a Puddle

Walking to Chemistry class, I just found these ducks .
One was playing in a puddle while the other two are staying around it.

People were literally walking right next to them, but those won't go away.
It was just very interesting to see these creatures around here.

* Click to enlarge

Interstellar TARS Model Project Interim Report - 5 (Experiment Log)

Interstellar TARS Model Project
Interim Report - V Experiment Log

Object--to report all procedures and results of past experiments done.

I. Introduction
As mentioned from the last report, I decided to write an experiment log with detailed explanations. I made at least three same experiments for each experiment log to increased the credibility and accuracy. If the experiment log resulted in failure, then it is most likely to be a failure.

Yes, I will find a way. [2]
II. Experiment Log
< Experiment 1 >
Procedure: Place each different tape on aluminum and burn the line for the surface of the tape. Then, spray paint with corresponding paints.

Typical multi-purpose black spray paint + Black electrical tape
Typical multi-purpose black spray paint + Cheap white-yellow masking tape

Results: Black electrical tape did not leave any glue on the aluminum surface after the laser cut. However, black spray paint peeled off as remaining parts of the tape were removed. On the other hand but similarly, the cheap white-yellow masking tape did leave some glue on the surface and was peeled off as the remaining parts were removed.

< Experiment 2 >
I realized the need of professional masking tape for this experiment. I used to make plastic models (or plamodel if you prefer) a long times ago. I know the feeling of the real high-quality masking tape which was made in Japan. I looked for such tape in Wal-mart and found this Frog tape masking tape. The touch was the exactly same feeling as the one I used before.

Procedure: Place the Frog tape: Delicate Surface on an aluminum surface and burn the line for the surface of the tape. Then, spray paint with corresponding paints.

Frogtape + Typical multi-purpose black spray paint + Paint finisher
Frog tape  Paint finisher + Typical multi-purpose black spray paint

Fig. 1. A few paints are not working for the aluminum [1]
The spray paint still pilled off along with the tape as I try to remove the tapes.
When I spray painted after the paint finisher, the paint even did not work.

< Experiment 3 >
Procedure: Place the Frogtape: Delicate Surface on aluminum surface and burn the line for the surface of the tape. Then, color or fill the lines with Sharpie markers

Frogtape + Typical multi-purpose black Sharpie
Frogtape + Typical multi-purpose black spray paint

Fig. 2. Black Sharpie [1]
Fig. 3. Black Spray Paint [1]
- At least some of the black lines remained on the surface. However, the lines were unclear and dirty.
- Not good at all. I did this experiment previously. But, to compare and contrast, another experiment was necessary.

< Experiment 4 >
There was no problem at all with the aluminum surface or the masking tape. But the problem was the paint! I went to the autoshop and bought spray paints that are used for vehicle's surfaces--since they are made of aluminum. I purchased two different kinds of spray paints: Gray Self-etching spray primer and Black Sand-able auto primer.

Procedure: Place the Frogtape: Delicate Surface on aluminum surface and burn the line for the surface of the tape. Then, spray paint with corresponding paints.

Frogtape + Self-Etching spray primer
Frogtape + Sand-able auto primer
Frogtape + Self-Etching spray primer + Sand-able auto primer
Frogtape + Self-Etching spray primer + Black Sharpie Marker

Fig. 4. Too thick layers made it hard to identify or pill off masking tapes [1]
Results are listed in the same order:
- Successful for only relatively big parts. Very thin and delicate lines still pilled off along the tape.
- Somewhat successful for only relatively big parts. Paints came off along with tapes
- Unsuccessful. Too thick layer made the entire tapes to stick together; lines of tapes were almost impossible to identify and hard to pill off.
- Somewhat successful for only relatively big parts. Primer merged with the black marker even though the primer was completely dry.

< Experiment 5 >
I bought a thing called aluminum coating which helps spray paint to stay on the surface of aluminum. This one is transparent and used for painting a car.

Procedure: Place the Frogtape: Delicate Surface on aluminum surface and burn the line for the surface of the tape. Then, color with markers and spray paint with corresponding paints.

Coated aluminum plate + Frogtape + Self-Etching spray primer + Sand-able auto primer
Coated aluminum plate + Frogtape + Self-Etching spray primer + Black Sharpie Marker
Coated aluminum plate + Frogtape + Black Sharpie Marker

Fig. 5. Clearly finished work. But with too thick layers.
This one is the one with primer and black marker. [1]
- Somewhat successful. Too thick layers
- Successful for only relatively big parts. Very thin and delicate lines still pilled off along the tape.
- Disastrous. The marker melted down.

< Experiment 6>
While coated aluminum was partially successful compared to all other experiments I did so far, the results were still not so satisfying. Thus, now I tried to change the color of the aluminum surface not the giving another layer over it.

Procedure: First, put at least three layers of Frogtape on aluminum panel. Laser cut the lines where I want them to be black. Then, proceed with changing colour.

Frogtape + Anodization (Makes aluminum black)

Fig. 6. The Best Result One Can Expect. Absolutely Clean. [1]
- Extremely successful. The line cuts were accurate and straight. Some glues left on the plate while removing masking tapes though. However, the results were outstanding!

It cost tremendous amount of finance for this experiment--not grant though. I do not regret though. I learned a lot and truly enjoyed the experiments. Now, I am turning into Massive Production Step, using the latest experiment result.

More reports are expected once Neodymium Magnets arrive.Thank you for keeping with all reports.

All experiments were done by me, and I have all the rights reserved.

Unless separately mentioned,
- [1] Hosung Won @ All rights reserved. All pictures and researches in this post were made and done by Hosung Won
- [2]

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Interstellar TARS Model Project Interim Report - 4

Interstellar TARS Model Project
Interim Report - IV

Object: To continue the project from where I left. Also, to report the detrimental problem currently facing.

I. Introduction
I have some fund now. It's been only a few days, and I acquired some money in some way. Thus, I am back on the business. The laser cutting experiment was very successful and resulted a great potential for this project. However, I am still trying new things for this project so that I can make the most accurate and realistic figure on internet.

II. Problem Report
I have spray paints available and ready. However, the paints do not work so well on aluminium. This is a huge problem I am having right now. The aluminium is like a paper thick, but it cannot be cut or engraved with a laser cutter. I came up with a solution in many ways, but seems there is no any solution so far.

III. Problem Solution
There is no solution so far. If I cannot find a good primer or paint that can be used on aluminium very well, this project can be very successful. Or, I can get a black color aluminium plate, which really does not exists! These two are the only solutions so far. I am trying several more than 30 experiments over this weekend. I spent about 8 hours a day at a lab; I still just cannot figure out the solution yet.

I have a separate experiment log paper. I will analyze this paper and upload to possibly the next report or after that. So far, I am assuming that I have used up nearly three cans of spray paints, four 12 ft x 12 ft acrylic panels for this experiment. The pains normally do not get along with this acrylic panels well. I tried commercial acrylic spray paint from Walmart, Japanese Tamiya's paints for plamodels, and so more. No satisfying results yet. Black Sharpie marker somehow works though.

IV. Future Plan
The speed or phase of this project will significantly decrease. I have a lot of works coming ahead; thus I cannot spend so much time doing this project. The progress will be significantly decreased, but I will continued to do the experiment so that I can get the apt result for TARS.

V. Vector
The word, 'TARS' on the robot will be vector cut and filled in with orange or gold ink (Since I do not have orange ink yet). Thanks to the vector cutting function, the word filling is not a problem anymore.

Lately, the demands for this project increased significantly. However, I cannot finish this project any sooner. Since again, I am making various experiments to make this robot. Painting trouble is the one I have right now though. If this works and do my favor, TARS will come in true quite sooner.

Interstellar Wal-mart edition Collectable Package

I stopped by at Wal-mart to buy some supplies for my own good living. Also, I was looking for a very sharp knife that can cut through ABS plastic or acrylic panels. I did get the knife. Anyway, on the way to the check-out station, I found Interstellar DVDs. Since I already have one, I was not interested, but I saw that the DVDs had three different price tags. I knew that there must be something so special about one being the most expensive.

It was the collectible Interstellar movie DVD only available at Wal-mart!

Oh, why not get this one? It is batter than a cheap plastic DVD package one.

This is a IMAX film piece. Randomly chosen and packed with the item.
Well, I kinda hoped to get a film with TARS in. But, Uhgghh

Thinking how much a normally collectible DVD set costs,
this set was absolutely worth of 24 bucks. I like the cover image of the DVD container
better than just commercial plastic DVD container.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Interstellar TARS Model Project Temporary Suspension Report

Interstellar TARS Project
Temporary Suspension Report

Object: To announce the suspension of the report and to explain the current situation involving some factors.

I. Introduction
For last three days of short periods, I worked extremely hard to bring TARS into a real physical model. However, now it is at the point where I cannot proceed any further. Today I still managed to finish several experiments regarding line cutting with laser cutter. However, that is not the problem with this project. The full explanation is given in this report. I am reporting that the temporary suspension of the project is unavoidable.

II. Economic Factor
The plan to make TARS started too quickly, and it escalated to the point where needs much times to spend in order to finish the project. As a student, such time consuming works cannot be continued. But, this is just another thing of the real problem. If I wanted to continue this work, I can sleep less or something similar. However, the real problem is the economic hardship.

Fig. 1. TARS with Complete Figures [1]
Problem Proposal: Lack of Financial Foundation to Continue and Maintain the Current Phase.

The price of the 3D Printed ABS plastic varies depends on the density of the figure and the size of the figure. Higher the density, the price increases; bigger the size, the price increases too. The size is measured by the volume of the figure.

Generally, one part for a figure has volume of 1.200 cubic inches. Since one figure needs two parts, to make one figure, it takes about 2.400 cubic inches of volume. Density wise, the price is different because it will change the  amount of base materials and building materials used to build the figure.

With low density, a figure (2.400 cubic inches) costs about $32.
With high density, a figure (2.400 cubic inches) costs about $40.

Fig. 2. TARS with Complete Figures [1]
I printed two of the parts (the green ones.) with high density since I wanted TARS to be strong. These parts include the prototype. One extra part is currently reserved.

All of the rest of the parts are printed in low density which is white colors. Somehow the figure is vulnerable and weak, but I have to take it anyway. While I did try to reduce the cost of production, I think I cannot proceed any further.

Overall, I already spent nearly over $200 to print these products and laser cut the detailed parts. This may sounds awfully expensive and unfair, this is the only thing I can take care of. I cannot afford to own own 3D printer at all. The only choice I have is to pay for the 3D Printer get the parts. This is why I tried to make TARS with acrylic panels, and this is why I am using the prototype figure for several experiments.

Anyway, as I mentioned above, I have no finance to continue my work. Actually, I do not have so much time to spend at all.

III. Crowd Funding
Just in case if someone asks or suggests what if I do a Crowdfunding. First of all, I am not capable of 'giving back.' Crowdfunding, or any kind of similar way of collecting money from the public requires to give something back as a return. Some campaigns do not have anything to give back, but at least I cannot think of any and have no interest to do so. Receiving someone's money is the very last thing I would do.

Fig. 3. All Currently Available Figures [1]
Fig. 4. "Darn, you traitor!" [1]
Honorable Mention
My fellow friends, comrades, and dear boss, today, unfortunately our very first supporter and assistant of our project, 'The prototype' passed away from excessively too high setting of laser cutter's power. The figure was burned too much from the fire of a laser cutter. Thus, I decided to let it go and use it only for the comparison sake. Several experiments done on the prototype will give a good sense or idea for the other new figures. It will be never forgotten.

Fig. 5. End of 'The Prototype' [1]
Unless separately mentioned,
- [1] Hosung Won @ All Rights Reserved. All figures used in this post are made by Hosung Won

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Interstellar TARS Model Project Interim Report - 3

Interstellar TARS Model Project
Interim Report - III

Object: This report will continue to explain the latest work updates. Particularly, this report describes the results from the laser cutter and the conclusion derived from it. At certain point, the report demands some opinions from the public.

I. Introduction
Previously, I mentioned in the report-II that I am going to engrave lines on the surface of the figure to find out if it is an appropriate way of giving lines. Unexpectedly, solutions to this appeared; other attempts were still made. In this report, all those will be introduced and explained. The new designed figure is currently in the process of printing.

II. Engraving
As I said, I wanted to engrave the lines on the surface and draw black lines with a very fine Sharpie marker. I was concerned what if the lines are too narrow to draw the lines or too wide. The only way to figure that out is to try it. I took my prototype to a laser cutter to proceed graving.

Fig. 1. CAD image for surface of TARS [1]
How did this engraving go? First of all, I was extremely concerned with aligning a laser cutter with the figure. The red lines in the Fig. 1. is a dummy lines. I put those lines merely to make it easier to locate the edge of the laser cutter. Because I sandpapered the prototype figure, it was even harder to align the figure to the laser cutter--sandpapering may raked 0.0001 inch or whatsoever, but that was critical for such meticulous work.

Fig. 2. Prototype with lines on the surface [1]
The Fig. 2. is the result of laser cutting. I did not cut through by the way. I used the 'rast' function to slightly give engraving. But then, a miracle happened! I was expecting to fill the lines with a black marker after the laser cutting, but the lines were black! I could not believe what I was looking at. The 3D printed plastic figure was burned, creating black surface inside. This way, I do not have to worry about drawing black lines. I was in such a rapture that this way of production seemed promising (and it is). I tried to remove the black lines just in case. I washed in soap, scratched with my nails, and scrubbed with an eraser. The black lines remained--perfect.

However, I still had to do the second plan for the engraving line since I do not know which way is better.

Fig. 3. Laser cutter is working on it... with too much excessive passion [1]
Another unexpected thing happened. I forgot to calibrate the laser cutter to the height of the figure. Calibration is very important because the focus point of the laser cutter will be disturbed if not calibrated appropriately. Not knowing that, I processed to laser cut the other side of the figure.

This time, the lines were wider but shallow. I figured this is somewhat interesting too. Although the black lines did not appear--the laser power was not strong enough to burn and blacken inside of the lines. However, the lines were wide enough to draw black lines inside.

Before that, the prototype figure was severely blacken because of the fire caught during the laser cutting process. I decided to spray paint the metallic silver again. Even after the painting, the lines were still deep enough to draw lines in them.

Fig. 4. After the painting of the lines engraved without calibration [1]
Fig. 5. After filled the lines with black marker [1]
Very easy to fill in the lines--although few lines were not smooth enough to draw straight lines. I compared this side of the figure to the side where the lines were carved with the laser cutter.

Fig. 6. Lines filled in with black marker [1]
Fig. 7. Lines engraved by laser cutter [1]
I do not even have to ask someone by letting them to look in through a magnifier. Obviously, the one worked with a machine is neat and organized. On the other hand, the one with black marker is a bit dirty, and crude. This suggests that I must use the laser cutter to engrave the lines WITH calibrated laser pointer.

III. Alternative Production
Do you know how much it costs to produce a figure with a 3D printer? Not so cost effective at all! I had to think about how to reduce price of the production effectively. If 3D Printing was inexpensive enough, I would not sue the prototype figure for several experiments. Anyway, I found that acrylic panels were fairly cheaper than using 3D Printer. Thus, I tried that way.

Fig. 8. CAD image for acrylic TARS [1]
I measured the thickness of a acrylic panel and divided the value to width of the figure. According to the measurement, I needed nine rectangular panels to produce one part of TARS. I added lines too since that was is easier.

Fig. 9. Not again. [1]
To tell the result... it was not good at all.
First of all, as laser cutter cut the acrylic panel, the figure started to bend because of the heat. Of course, acrylic panels are more vulnerable to the heat than ABS plastics are! I tried to put them straight again, but it was very difficult to do so. Also, (this is something I made mistake) I did not set the laser power high enough. This was so detrimental mistake I made that the acrylic panels did not come apart clean and neat. The panel had small acrylic parts stuck next to it. I used sandpaper to soften them up, but it was not as good as using the laser cutter. Most importantly, I did not have acrylic glue. I used plastic glue instead. Did it work?

FIg. 10. Using clamps to keep the panels tightly together [1]
I knew that something was going awfully wrong when I used these clamps. After about 15 minutes, I check if they are glued well; as I expected, the result was terrible. Thus, I threw away the material. I think I need to start over again later. Using acrylic is very important for this production.

IV. Conclusion
The problem of engraving the detailed lines on the surface of the figure has been solve. I tried to used an acrylic panel to produce cheaper and easier production of TARS. However, it was absolutely disastrous.

V. Recommendation
If I can get a glue for acrylic panel, it is probably possible to produce an acrylic TARS.

I have no intention of sharing detailed dimension or blueprint of the figure 'yet.'

Unless separately mentioned,
- [1] Hosung Won @ All rights reserved. All figures used in this post are produced by Hosung Won

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Interstellar TARS Model Project Interim Report - 2

Interstellar TARS Model Project
Interim Report - II

Object: To report the most latest work updates and introduce changed design of the figure

I. Introduction
This report will continue to provide the latest information of this project. Particularly, this report will discuss more accurate design and blueprint of the figure, and an alternative design will be provided.

II. Design Challenge
Since I wanted to make a perfect TARS figure, I spent quite many times to watch only the TARS part from the Interstellar DVD. Looking at the prototype I made previously, I was not so sure about the size of whole (or a circularly engraved section for the magnet); it seemed too big. I came to a conclusion that there has been a design defection; I wanted to change everything over again.

The followings are the defections that current design has
  • Size of the holes for the magnets
  • Location of the holes
  • design of the lines of the surface of the figure.
First, I want to talk about the lines on the surface.
When I first started to collect useful information to make TARS, I found this blueprint and used it through my project, believing it is correct.

Fig. 1. TARS design [1]
Fig. 2. TARS design [1]
These two figures above are the ones I used to design TARS robot. However, through research, I found that these designs are incorrect, thus should not be used.

Fig. 3. TARS's detailed lines [2]
This is a picture of the real TARS. There are three small several lines per one larger line. However, the wrong design has two small several lines per one larger line. This is incorrect design and had to be corrected.

Second, the size of the hole. The prototype I have has too big holes compared to the real TARS. However, since I already ordered the magnets fit in for this size of the holes, I decided to give a very thin wall, blocking the magnet inside. The following blueprint is the redesigned blueprint accepted such change.

Fig. 4. Changed design of the figure [3]
As you can see in the blueprint, there are thin walls next to where the magnets will be. This way of design suggests that I need to insert magnets first before I assemble them together.

Third, the location of holes. While I saw several people cannot get a good location of the holes, I found the correct locations. The holes should not be located at the center of the block when it is divided into 8 pieces. My prototype did; however, it is wrong way to put the holes.

Above two pictures were captured from Interstellar DVD [2]
Please look at the above two pictures, especially the second one. As you can see, the locations of the top hole and the bottom hole are different. A lot of other builders put the top hole just like where the bottom hole is. However, the truth is that the top hole is slightly a bit down from the center. The first picture clearly shows cut-edge of the lines on the surface. As you can see, the hole is not at the center; rather it is slightly down from the center.

Overall, I am suggesting a new design for the TARS.
FIg. 5. New recommended design for TARS [3]
III. Conclusion
The design for the figure has been changed and improved. Now the figure is more complicate but more accurate. There is no plan to print the new changed figure yet; as mentioned from the previous report, I am going to continue to test if engraving lines work for the figure.

Unless mentioned,
- [1]
- [2] Production Co. of the movie Interstellar own the rights to the pictures.
- [3] Hosung Won @ All rights reserved