As always we had to begin with some sketchings. It was clear that this would be the most challenging project of all from the initial sketches as shown. There was a lot of back and forth and differing of opinions on how to make this boat perfect.
Together, after a lot of time planning to getting everyone on the same page of how the boat would come out, everyone came up with their own ideas of the design and gave each other feedback on the design of the hull of the boat. The main portion of the design would come down to the shape of the hull of the boat, how the boat would change direction, and the placement of the components.
We decided that the shape, size, and dimension of the boat is the most important design of the project as it is the core integrity of the boat and it affects all the functionalities of the boat itself.
For this project, we decided to work together on each design and components, contrary to the previous project where we worked independently on assigned parts. We believed that this method is more beneficial and more efficient as feedbacks can be given at all times and there are not as many independent parts in this project, however, the work can be delayed if members are not present to make big decisions.
The team started out by researching boat hulls and shape to gather information on which shape is the most efficient in moving through the water surface. As well as, conducting several experiments on the components such as the pump, and foam pieces to check their integrity. A miniature size boat hull that we CADed also was printed just to see the shape and scale of what we had to work with.
Once the mechanical components were in place the only thing left was the electronic components which would be housed in a waterproof plastic container in the middle of the boat to balance the weight of the pump and servo motor. Calculations were done using the masses of the electronics and the center of mass of the boat to ensure that it would be stable.
The electronic components used were two Arduino UNO units and two xBee radio communication units, and several battery units to power the system. A set of these components are on board to the boat to power and activate the boat's pump and servomotor while the other set is on the controller. The controller and the boat connects via radio communication of the xBee which is connected to the Arduino programmed to give signals to the pump/servomotor depending on our controls.
The xBees had to be programmed on the computer using XCTU software so that they knew how to communicate with each other and transmit signals. One was programmed as the transmitter and one as the receiver.
The controller consisted of a switch to power the pump on/off instead of a button so the user do not have to hold the button down in order to power the pump for a prolonged period of time. I also designed and 3D printed a knob to be attached to the potentiometer so that we could control the direction of the boat through turning the knob, which turns the potentiometer, which sends a signal to the servo to rotate.
The knob was designed so that it would feel very comfortable in hand, and so that minor adjustments on the potentiometer became larger turns on the knob. This made things more accurate. I designed the knob so that it would fit onto the turning portion of the potentiometer, and then a plate with grooves for it to twist on. The knob and plate secured to each other with a tight fit, but because of the design of the circular track, it was still able to rotate with ease.
The housing of the radio controller was manufactured from .25" acrylic, which was laser cut for precision. The controller is transparent which makes it it easy to know whether the controller is on/off from the lights on the Arduino. The bright orange color helps easily identify the controller and was aesthetically pleasing. The top of the controller box was secured with a 3D printed hinge for ease of opening to check the components on the inside.