Monday, October 10, 2005

Test Modules Built, Part orders

Things have been busy with the Dance Floor. Vertigo is 33 days away and the floor is starting to take shape.

We have assembled one of the 4 alluminum frames that will form the outsides of each 4x8 foot floor module. They put together with an allen wrench in about an hour, the rest will soon follow.

On sunday we went to a shop and assembled two prototype "test modules." each is 2x2 feet, with 16 total pixels. The purpose of these modules is not to test software (they're 1/4 the size of the area controlled by one controller board). These modules were built to test the construction methods and various wood thicknesses for the right balance between strength and weight.

The modules were constructed (and the full floor will be constructed) by cutting notches out of strips of wood and fitting them together. The joints were cut pretty tight to increase structure stability when assembled. Wood glue was then used to further lock the frame together. We built one out of 3/8" plywood, the other out of 1/2". We placed a sheet of 1/4" acrylic on them to test stability when stood and jumped on.

The smaller of the two sizes worked amazingly well even before it was glued which leads us to conclude that we can get away with thinner wood which will decrease costs and weight significantly. We used acrylic for the test because it was all Home Depot carried. It worked well which further assures us that the Polycarbonate (lexan) that we will be using (same thickness) will work even better.

We are using Lexan for the covering because it is stronger and more flexible than acrylic. This will save us if someone with a sharp heel puts a lot of ponit-source pressure on the surface. The floor will (hopefully) flex instead of simply cracking.

Today we ordered the Lexan from Regal Plastics (a St Louis distributor), the rest of the USB-Serial Converters from Parallax, and the powersupplies for the floor from MPJA.

All that is left to buy at this point is the wood for the whole floor, some USB hubs, and miscellaneous supplies.


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