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Compliant Mechanism Design Competition For Engineering Students

Whoever builds the given device with the fewest parts wins.
  (+4, -3)
(+4, -3)
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Compliant mechanisms utilize so called "soft parts" instead of linkages, cotter pins, two part hinges etc. Not only are they simpler, but there can be some advantages. The link describes these things. (this idea won't make much sense unless you watch the video)

So the idea is to have the competitors design common mechanical devices, from household appliances to vehicles, even aircraft, using the minimum amount of parts possible. The competitors might for instance, ride their motorcycle onto the stage and say "My motorcycle runs on gas, has 3 gears and has only 6 parts." Next entrant might say "I made a blender with 2 parts."

A "part" being a contiguous piece of whatever material shaped such that it might do several jobs rather than just a lot of different parts each doing a separate job, which is how things are generally made.

A car with 14 parts that does everything a regular car with its thousands of parts does? That would be quite an accomplishment, and seeing how they did it would be some interesting stuff. Obviously much of what's innovated to do this would let itself to being applied to the state of the art for that item's manufacture.

The linked video shows the general idea.

doctorremulac3, Aug 29 2020

Compliant mechanisms https://www.youtube...watch?v=97t7Xj_iBv0
[doctorremulac3, Aug 29 2020]

1-piece door-handle mechanism https://all3dp.com/...aterial-mechanisms/
3D-printed [neutrinos_shadow, Aug 31 2020]

A little more to the point description. https://www.youtube...watch?v=PgDJlLqeTdo
Guys like us with 3D printers know that making crazy stuff is pretty addicting. [doctorremulac3, Sep 01 2020]


       This reminds me of my attempt to cheat at a high-school design/technology contest by building a model bridge out of a length of elastic: the rules said the bridge must bear a load without breaking, not that it must hold the the load steady.
pertinax, Aug 30 2020

       I heard a story about some nuclear scientist who when asked how to get some percentage of particle interaction, probability factor or some such, threw a bunch of toothpicks on the ground and said "Count where they overlap." Point is, simple ways of doing things can be pretty clever.   

       Then there's the old wadding up a piece of paper, chucking it and saying "It's a missile."
doctorremulac3, Aug 30 2020

       Don't make it a "contest" to make engineers work for free, especially not a contest based around an "idea" that you saw in a video. Magic doesn't work like that. Or, make the contest original, i.e. make appliances from fishbones carved into nanoscale shapes then used as 3D-printing powder.
sninctown, Aug 30 2020

       So a homogeneous material if shaped correctly (on the correct scale) can control properties of charge, magnetism? In my mind heterogeneous materials will always be needed. Diversity* is a founding block of complexity.   

       *even if the ultimate Plank fundamental is a 'Lego' single entity.
wjt, Aug 30 2020

       //So a homogeneous material if shaped correctly (on the correct scale) can control properties of charge, magnetism?//   

       I wouldnt' think so, but maybe somebody could prove me wrong and create some new material that does just that somehow.
doctorremulac3, Aug 30 2020

       "have a contest for engineers to make better x" is not a new idea. Mixing it with "via this one mechanism" doesn't make it any better.
Voice, Aug 30 2020

       Being made with fewer parts doesn't necessarily mean better. Might barely get the job done, but the mechanisms arrived at might be interesting. For instance, if somebody said they made a blender with only two parts you wouldn't be curious about how they did it?   

       Did you watch the video? Kind of have to for this to make sense. If you still hate it, that's fine, but you do need to check the link first to get the idea.   

       I think this would at the very least a cool assignment for engineering students. Try to merge two jobs into one part in a given mechanism.   

       Maybe that's a better way to express this. Taking an assigned mechanism, an assembly line for instance, have a parts elimination competition. Competitor #1 eliminated 4 parts, #2 eliminated 6 parts, the winner eliminated 12 parts.
doctorremulac3, Aug 30 2020

       I think it depends on how you define "one part". Eg: the "pliers" in the video could be said to have 4 parts. They are made at the same time from the same material and are joined together, so making it that way only removes the "assembly" part of the construction (which is fair enough).
It could also be extended down to an atomic level: is a "doped" area of a silicon chip considered a different part to the un-doped area next to it? It has different properties, does different things...
neutrinos_shadow, Aug 31 2020

       Neut, your link makes my point. See how clever was that simplified door lock mechanism was? A competition to do this sort of thing, I'm thinking for engineering courses in college, would be amazingly interesting.   

       Snicktown, I think you were in a bad mood when you put snarky quotation marks around the word "idea" when referring to this. Compliant mechanisms are a very clear idea, not a magic "idea". Pretty amazingly brilliant one at that.   

       A competition to take an existing mechanism like a door handle mechanism and come up with the thing shown in neut's link would be amazingly interesting to anybody with a mind towards engineering and design of mechanisms.   

       I might suggest this to some folks at MIT and Stanford.
doctorremulac3, Aug 31 2020

       The door handle, pliers and hinges and pantograph shown in the link are made from many small pieces welded together, since that is the very nature of 3D printing.   

       My car has only 6 parts: 4 wheels, engine and bodywork.
pocmloc, Aug 31 2020

       Well, everything's made of atoms I guess.   

       Your car is made of thousands of parts. A part as referred to here is a contiguous piece of material, like the door handle in the link.   

       Thought it was a pretty simple concept.
doctorremulac3, Aug 31 2020

       What if two separate parts are welded together?   

       What if they are riveted together?   

       What if they are sellotaped together?   

       What if they are merely resting on top of one another?
pocmloc, Aug 31 2020

       Then it's not one piece molded with a simple one step process.   

       Really, watch the video before commenting further.
doctorremulac3, Aug 31 2020

       Right, but many parts are not moulded, but are fabricated, or machined, or carved, or even grown to shape (like the knees of wooden warships).   

       I'm just trying to push at the edges of what defines a "single part" because its the ill-defined edges that make a competition or a specification fail or succeed.
pocmloc, Aug 31 2020

       I hear you, ok.   

       How about this.   

       1- The students are given a mechanism like the doorknob.   

       2- They’re told it can only be injection molded parts, but for ease of application 3D printing will be used, but the part will need to be injection moldable.   

       3- The students submit their design and the number of 3D parts needed to create it. No fasteners allowed, snap together only. Fewest parts win.   

       The shown door latch would win over a design that had two parts that snapped together.
doctorremulac3, Aug 31 2020

       Perhaps change it from "least number of parts" to "least number of steps to finish"? The advantage of the printed/injection-molded parts is mostly removing some assembly steps. (I have heard about "multi-step" injection molding, basically doing a simple assembly step inside the mold.)
neutrinos_shadow, Aug 31 2020

       //Perhaps change it from "least number of parts" to "least number of steps to finish"?//   

       I'd say points for both.   

       Making a simpler mechanism can be a complicated process. Why not make a game of it?
doctorremulac3, Aug 31 2020

       "Il semble que la perfection soit atteinte non quand il n’y a plus rien à ajouter, mais quand il n’y a plus rien à retrancher."

       "It seems that perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."
-Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
kdf, Aug 31 2020


       What? That was the least amount of parts I could use to express my love of this idea.
I would excel at this. Why the hell wasn't it a thing when I was still young enough to participate?!

       I swear: If I ever get to launch any of the inventions I haven't disclosed ,(which I've got kicking around the back of my head), They will all be dis-assemblable and re-assemblable using a single tool attached to the invention itself.   

       It also depends on the criterion for specifying the mechanism. For example, that 3D printed door knob seems very complex to me with all those little lattice holes and connections. Better to have the door shaped so that it wedges very slightly into the door frame. Then cut a hole in the door so you can reach through the hole to tug the door free of the frame. There, a -1 part door handle (consisting of a hole, the removed part, hence having a negative number of components)
pocmloc, Sep 01 2020

       I know you're probably kidding because that's just a wedged shut door, but looking at it from a different angle like that might be result in an interesting solution.   

       So thinking along the lines of wedged shut doors, have one section of the door that's thinner and therefore flexible but extends in an arc shape out of the rectangular door shape into a vertical notch in the door jam. You push that section it flexes and pulls out of the recession in the door frame opening the door. The door jam has a slope up to the notch portion that pushes the flexible part to compress it until it hits the notch, at which time it clicks into place.   

       This simple design replaces a push bar with all its cost, dozen of components etc. Plus it might look better as well.   

       That's a zero additional component design.
doctorremulac3, Sep 01 2020

       To be multidimensional the turning of the door knob has to do something else. Simple one dimensional is still good, until you need exponential development.
wjt, Sep 04 2020

       //The door jam//   

       Almost NEJAB - except it's the "jam" itself which needs an extra "b".
pertinax, Sep 04 2020

       ... and couldn't the title of this idea be built better with fewer parts?
pertinax, Sep 04 2020

doctorremulac3, Sep 04 2020


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