Rebuilding your working prototype
by: Jefferey Alan Wilson Sr.
"I Made it at TechShop-San Jose Ca."
Reconstructing a green solar smart home prototype.
An Introduction to Basic Model Making 101
I have been a 'Model Maker' my entire life. I am considered a 'Master Model Maker".
I have been to college for model making.
I had a business making forensic models for courtroom litigation support for attorneys.
So, here are some fundamentals about model making.
1). In industrial modeling making class they teach you there are 3 types of models.
(a). White color cardboard study models.
(b). Three color cardboard study models.
(c). Presentation scale models.
2). There are also, very sophisticated testing models, such as wind tunnel testing and of course hobbies level models.
3). I respectfully submit a new category: "working prototype models with Arduino boards or Smart Models'.
What makes a Master Model Maker?
A lot of common sense things, experience, and quality.
But there is one issue that you see very little on: What happens when you make a big mistake and mess-up your model?
This is the area where the master model maker really shines.
The model you see below is a three color cardboard study solar model with brass framing.
After I was done with real time solar studies I decided to upgrade the model to a investor presentation model.
The decision to use the original parts for the NEW model is part of what makes it sustainable. It saves material but also design time and labor. Several friends told me to start a new prototype. But I said no, the whole point of green is to infuse sustainability in everything we do.
The pictures below are:
-The solar model lighting up LEDs at night from batteries it charged during the day.
-The model during the day with real miniature solar panels charging batteries.
-A white color cardboard study model to be used as an addition into the final presentation model.
The next step was to pour a new foundation-OMG! I made a big mistake.
Step 1: Break Down the Model
1). I have already started to break down the model. The adhesives to hold the brass together have broken down and became brittle due to extreme heat and UV exposure to the sun. This model was originally a solar panel study model exposed to the sun all day during the summer.
2) You can see the small solar panels I used generate the radiation collection to the batteries.
3). On the top of the model you can see the mini circuit of the LED lights.
Step 2: Digging Out the Resin-It Took a Week :(
1). Removing bad Resin. There are two reasons I'm rebuilding this model.
-The first one is I'm going from study model to presentation model.
-The other is: At one point of the conversion the weather turned cold and raining and ruined the curing time of the resin. It never harden and has been tacky to the touch for over a week.
2). As you can see I'm using a chisel to remove the material. However, I fabricated rebar to give the new 'slab' foundation I'm creating extra strength. The rebar is actually working and holding down the sticky stuff I'm trying to remove. The point here is to be patient and just chip away a little at a time. If you get up under the material it starts to peel away. Because it never hardened it's pretty flexible. Don't get frustrated it has taken me over a week at chipping away. Just think of it as art and you are sculpting raw material into fine art.
3). The other thing you should notice is that I have removed the landscaping grass pictured to the left. It didn't settled down as I had planned. It looked clumpy and out of scale. I did it by hand an protocol dictates that you use and old fashion flour sifter to sprinkle the grass.
-NOTE: I all fairness; I have been very sick for weeks during these past winter months. There are 84 viruses in Santa Clara County and my doctor said this is the worst cold and flu season he has ever seen. I seem to catch the same cold over and over. Have gotten a bad flu (yes, I got the flu shot) and just got over walking pneumonia. I say all this because in the real world sometimes we have no choice but to keep working on our projects. Yet, not feeling well can lead to disastrous results.
1). Tools; Dremel router bit. Ripping up the green paper that represents landscape.
2). The paper card stock was glued down pretty good. I had to break out the old Dremel and route out key sections, this allowed me to get a good grip on the card stock and rip up large sections of paper.
3). In order to work with paper you have to understand how it is put together. Paper stock is laid down in layers. Do not attempt to try and cut all the way through with one stoke. Cut a line from one end to the other slicing one layer at a time.
4). I then was more precise at working around fixtures I wanted to reuse such as the working solar windmill and hand made tree.
5). I used a series of chisels and a large putty knife to slowly chisel out the paper.
6). After pulling up the paper there was large amounts of glue that required the use of the Dremel to remove it.
7). You can see clamps in the picture below. I used them to glue two supporting beams below the model base to take out a wrap in the wood. This wrap occurred when I exposed the solar study model to the hot sun over the summer.
Step 4: Lets Rip Out Everything!
1). I cut out all wiring that was previously attached to working solar panels.
2). After I ripped out the resin that never set up, I poured real concrete in the forms that I created. Make sure you cover your new concrete so it doesn't get contaminated and dried out. It needs to keep wet for 24 hours under the plastic.
3). Make sure you protect delicate parts of your model you are going to still use such as the telephone poles and brass pyramid by clamping and taping. This ensures if you do bump into it they won't break.
4). On the last photo you can see most of the material has been removed. I will come back later with a palm sander to remove the stain, remaining paper and glue.
5). You can also see the red energy towers that I am fabricating at TechShop on the laser cutter.