Sunday, June 29, 2008

Well, with the infrequency of my posting, one could hardly call this a "blog," but what the hell.... I'm BUSY!

Actually, I probably wouldn't be blogging today at all if my friend Justin hadn't made me feel like such a slacker, so this update is thanks to him.

It's been something like ELEVEN WEEKS since I blogged last, and a lot has happened.

This is a view of the arm, photographed a half-hour ago. (Actually, all these photos were taken 30 minutes ago... how's that for up-to-the-minute reporting!!!) You can see that things have progressed dramatically since the last post. The main pivot, including the hydraulics to power it, is done. The arm up/down hydraulics are in as well. The main arm is pretty much done, and the wrist rotate assembly (the parts of the arm in the foreground) is also done.

In this view from above/behind the entire assembly you can see that the forward outriggers are done. You also get a pretty good view of the right/left hydraulic cylinders.

This view is looking down the arm towards the wrist-rotate assembly. The hydraulic cylinders hanging from the arm in the sub-assembly just to the left of the red cylinders will control the rotation of the wrist.

A bunch of finger parts. the pieces standing upright are, from left to right, the last joint of the thumb, the middle finger, and the pointer and ring fingers. As you can see, they have been slightly tapered to replicate the natural tapering of human fingers. Pretty soon, they will be cut into individual segments and jointed to move like actual fingers. The finger on the ground, the pinkie, has already been jointed and fitted with two hydraulic cylinders. The last joint, as well as its cylinder, has not yet been attached.

The power unit. We have been building this simultaneously with the rest of the hand. All the major components are in place. The Perkins diesel engine is at the upper left part of the frame, the hydraulic reservoir sits below it, the diesel fuel tank is at the lower right, and all the hydraulic plumbing and valves are at the upper right.

The other side of the power unit. You can see the home-made exhaust, made from various shades of green pipe. Most of what remains to do on the power unit is plumbing-related; a few more hydraulic connections and then all the fuel connections to the engine. The engine has not yet been tested.... I really hope it works.....

The HAND is obviously priority number one for me before Burning Man. But just so that I can be assured of a highly stressful few weeks, here are the other things I might try to get done, in descending order of importance: #1: put a new clutch in my big truck (highly critical; I need this truck to transport the HAND, and the clutch just went out.... great timing!) #2: refurbish the Scoutch (that's the Scoutch in the picture above.... not critically important but would be a lot of fun. So far the various people who have promised to come help with the Scoutch have not yet shown up [except for Adam and Wendy - thanks guys!]) And lastly #3: Transplant the high MPG Cummins 4BT engine in the Frito Lay van I just got into the awesome 4X4 van I just got! That's the van in the pic below. (Not critically important at all.... but it sure would be an awesome ride and home for Burning Man. This will only get done if I have lots of extra time on my hands in August..... yeah right!)

Nice van, huh?

(P.S. Many thanks to the awesome and committed Toby Rickabaugh for all the help he's been giving me lately... couldn't do it without you buddy!)