Instructables

Creating Plexiglass Mounts for Robot Design

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This Instructable details how to create laser-cut plexiglass plates for mounting electronic components to augment a robot. The methods described here can be applied to any robot, but I will be using a VGo Communications (http://www.vgocom.com/) telepresence robot. A telepresence robot is the equivalent to mobile video conferencing, where the user's face appears on the top screen, interacting with people and driving around a space. In the image above you can see Margo, a finished, augmented robot. To see what the robot looks like without any augmentations, see this image: http://images.fastcompany.com/upload/vgo.jpg

Materials and tools used:
- 1/4", 1/8", and 1/16" plexiglass
- Trotec Laser Engraver
- Sugru (http://www.sugru.com/)
- acrylic plexiglass bonding glue
- plexiglass polish
- calipers
- dremel
- crayons
- heat gun
- screws
- nuts
- many different electronic components, including a Hokuyo UHG laser, Sharp IR distance sensors, MicroStrain IMU, Microsoft Kinect, Logitech webcam, fitPC-2, Phidget interface board, Minibox power supply, cooling fan, tri-color LEDs, and more
- Adobe Illustrator

The steps in this Instructable are as follows:
1-5: Designing the plexiglass planes
6: Cutting and prototyping with cardboard
7: Embedding nuts and losing weight
8: Adding color with crayons
9: Putting it all together
 
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Step 1: Mounting the augmentation mounting planes

The name of this step is a mouthful, but you must think about how these augmentation mounting planes are going to fit and mount within the robot. The VGo telepresence robot has an interior space between the stocks that is about 104mm wide, 600mm tall, and 87mm deep. The stocks are also hollow with a few wires running through. To mount the plexiglass planes horizontal bars will be placed between the stocks, and the augmentation mounting planes will attach to the bars.

The inside of the stocks are dremeled to fit the 1/4" T-shaped mounting bars. This augmentation uses three bars: top, bottom, and middle. They each contained holes for screws to attach to the middle mounting plane (detailed in the next step).