Well it doesn't look like we're going to make the $10k goal, but we really appreciate everyone's support, and for those that are interested, here's a rendering of the finalized design:
Progress Update - 2/15/13
Here's the latest rendering of the full-sized cockpit:
For the frame we are using mandrel bent 1.25" OD 16 ga mild steel tubing, fully TIG welded. The motors and gearheads pictured are Smart Motors from Moog Animatics, however the particular motors used in the final version may vary based on available funding. The seat is a Sparco Sprint and the steering wheel/pedals are Logitech G25. We are still working on the base design and a few of the component mounting/adjustability details. The front half of the frame is detachable for (relatively) easy transport. With this design we can achieve an estimated +/- 20 degrees of rotation and +/- 6" of translation in each axis. Time and money permitting, we may also implement a curved screen projection system to replace the 32" monitor.
Updated reward structure!
After receiving many requests for reward packages between $100 and $500, we have revamped our reward structure entirely. The kickstarter community has also expressed a lot of interest in our Arduino prototype, so we have decided to offer a DIY kit to build your own for the $400 reward. Plus, we'll even customize it for $500 and assemble it for $600.
Here's a video of the Stewart platform in action:
Who are we?
Full Motion Dynamics is a two-man Mechanical Engineering student team from San Jose State University.
What is this project all about?
This project is the culmination of our recent coursework at SJSU including mechanical design, robotics, and mechatronic control systems.
The goal is to build a 6 degree-of-freedom motion platform for racing simulation. We believe the most elegant way to achieve this is through the use of a robotic configuration called a Stewart platform, first used by Eric Gough in 1954 and later published by D Stewart in 1965. A Stewart platform consists of six independently controlled actuators, all mounted to a fixed base and the movable platform. By independently controlling the length of each actuator based on some very complex math, the platform can precisely move with 6 degrees of freedom (forward/back, left/right, up/down, and rotation about each axis). This is ideal for motion simulation as it provides a much more realistic experience than the typical 2 or 3 DOF simulator.
How much is complete?
We have already designed and built a small-scale Arduino-powered prototype. Using this prototype, we successfully conquered two of our biggest obstacles.
The first obstacle was to develop the mathematical algorithms necessary to produce accurate motion. We developed these kinematic algorithms from scratch, using variable inputs for the geometry of the prototype so that we can easily implement these algorithms in the full scale control system. The basic idea is that the control system can be given six inputs (desired position and rotation of the platform about each axis), and the necessary angle of each actuator becomes the control output.
With the kinematics working, the next obstacle was establishing a communication interface between a software simulation, such as a PC racing game, and the microcontroller that's driving the actuators. To accomplish this, we are using a program called X-sim (http://www.x-sim.de). X-sim extracts the data come from a racing game in real-time, converts that data into an ideal platform position and rotation, and outputs this information via serial communication to the Arduino where our kinematics calculations are carried out.
Here's a video of what it looks like in action:
We are through the initial design and prototyping stages, and have nearly finished the full-scale CAD design. We're ready to order parts and begin fabrication.
Once the full-scale cockpit and base are complete and, we will conduct extensive testing and tuning of the control system in order to ensure that the motion cues are as accurate as possible.
Where will your donations go?
We have estimated the total cost of the project from this point to be over $10,000. As college students, this far exceeds our budget. We are hoping that the Kickstarter community can help us raise this capital so that we can afford all the components necessary to make this project a success.
Here's a basic breakdown of our estimated budget:
Electronics: Geared DC motors (x6) $5000, 2-channel motor control unit $2500, Power interface $300, Gaming PC $850, Software $30, Microcontroller $60
Raw Materials/Hardware: Steel tubing for platform/frame $500, Misc Hardware $300, Powdercoat $20, Steel plate for base $100, Misc. tooling $80
Interface/Controls: Racing seat $200, Racing harness $70, Logitech G25 steering wheel/shifter/pedals $250, Monitor (x3) $400, Speakers $50
Estimated Total $10,710
Risks and challenges
Our two main challenges are time and money. With your help we hope that funding will no longer be a problem, which leaves time as our biggest challenge. Building this simulator is our senior project and we hope to graduate this May.
As with any challenge, motivation is the key to success. We chose this project due to our own interest in designing and building a complex robotic system. The amount of time and money we have already invested is an indication of our motivation to complete this project. By continuing this level of effort we hope to overcome any obstacles in our path to success.
- (21 days)