Fabulous Flexure Mechanism Makes For Resetting Cat Calendar

When we met [Amy Makes Stuff] at the 2019 Hackaday Superconference, we were immediately impressed with the array of flexure mechanisms displayed on a board hanging around her neck. That must be where we saw [Amy]’s original version of the cat calendar — a simple way to know for sure whether the shared house’s cat has been fed once, twice, or not at all on a given day.

Left: a simple flexure that gets heavily stressed when actuated. Right: a slightly more complicated flexure that uses less force.

Awesome as it is, the flexure mechanism doesn’t reset the yes/no indicators when the day clicks over — that has to be done manually. So when [Amy] was offered to try a small desktop CNC, she decided it was time to make a new version that resets automatically. Check it out in the video after the break, which also includes an exploration of [Amy]’s choice of flexure design as well as a bonus review of the CNC.

This is just an all-around great video, especially after [Amy] neglected to mill out the check marks and circles, sending her down a rabbit hole of attempting to make branding bits for these that could be chucked into a soldering iron. Unfortunately, the mill stops short of having the necessary mettle for milling metal.

Although [Amy] is likely known for her flexures, she has a ton of skills. Remember when she resurrected that burned and bubbled laser cutter? Or the time she machined a honing jig for hand-sharpening chisels and planes?

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Print Your Own Flexures

Game developer and eternal learner [David Tucker] just posted a project where he’s making linear flexures on a 3D printer. Tinkerer [Tucker] wanted something that would be rigid in five of the six degrees of freedom, but would provide linear motion along one axis. In this case, it is for a pen or knife on a CNC flatbed device. [David]’s design combines the properties of a 1-dimensional flexure and a spring to give a constant downward force. Not only is this an interesting build in and of itself, but he gives a good explanation and examples of more traditional flexible constructs. He also points out this site by MIT Precision Compliant Systems Lab engineer [Marcel Thomas] which provides a wealth of information on flexures.

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