Many EVs can charge 80% of their battery in a matter of minutes, but for some applications range anxiety and charge time are still a concern. One possible solution is an embedded electrical rail in the road like the [eRoadArlanda] that Sweden unveiled in 2016.
Overhead electrical wires like those used in trolleys have been around since the 1800s, and there have been some tests with inductive coils in the roadway, but the 2 km [eRoadArlanda] takes the concept of the slot car to the next level. The top of the rail is grounded while the live conductor is kept well underground beneath the two parallel slots. Power is only delivered when a vehicle passes over the rail with a retractable contactor, reducing danger for pedestrians, animals, and other vehicles.
One of the big advantages of this technology being in the road bed is that both passenger and commercial vehicles could use it unlike an overhead wire system that would require some seriously tall pantographs for your family car. Testing over several Swedish winters shows that the system can shed snow and ice as well as rain and other road debris.
Unfortunately, the project’s website has gone dark, and the project manager didn’t respond when we reached out for comment. If there are any readers in Sweden with an update, let us know in the comments!
We’ve covered both overhead wire and embedded inductive coil power systems here before if you’re interested in EV driving with (virtually) unlimited range.
Continue reading “What Happened To Sweden’s Slot Car EV Road?”
Pantographs were once used as simple mechanical devices for a range of tasks, including duplicating simple line drawings. [Tim] decided to make a modern electronic version that spits out G-Code instead.
The design relies on a 3D-printed pantograph assembly, mounted upon a board as a base. A pair of Hall effect sensors are mounted in the pantograph, which, along with a series of neodymium magnets, can be used to measure the angles of the pantograph’s joints. The Hall sensors are read by an Arduino Nano, which computes the angles into movement of the pantograph head and records it as G-Code. This can simply be displayed on the attached LCD display, or offloaded to a computer for storage.
[Tim] explains the basic theory behind the work in an earlier piece, where he built a set of electronic dividers using the same techniques. He didn’t stop there, either. He also built a more complex version that works in 3D that he calls it the Electronic Point Mapper, which can be used to generate point clouds with a 3D-capable pantograph mechanism.
It’s a neat way to learn about geometry, and could even be useful if you’re doing some work in tracing 2D drawings or measuring 3D objects.
Continue reading “Tracing In 2D And 3D With Hall Effect Sensors”
Electric vehicles make for cleaner transport. However, they’re hung up by the limited range available from batteries. Long recharge times further compound the issue.
These issues are exacerbated when it comes to trucks hauling heavy goods. More payload means more weight, which means less range, or more batteries, which means less payload. Electric highways promise to solve this issue with the magic of overhead wires.
Continue reading “Trucks Could Soon Run On Electrified Highways”
The BrachiGraph project consists out of two parts, the hardware design for a servo-driven drawing arm (pen plotter) and software utilities (written in Python) that allow the drawing arm’s servos to be controlled in order to convert a bitmap image into a collection of lines that can be used to draw an image resembling the original, in a variety of styles. All of the software and designs needed to make your own version can be found on the Github page for the project.
Considering an estimated €14 worth of materials for the project, the produced results are nothing short of amazing, even if the principles behind the project go back to the Ancient Greek , of course. The basic hardware is that of a pantograph, which provides the basic clues for how the servos on the plotter arm are being driven.
The main achievement here is definitely that of minimalism, with three dirt-cheap SG-90 microservos along with some bits of wood, a clothes-peg or equivalent, and of course a pen providing a functional plotter that anyone can assemble on a slow Sunday afternoon from random bits lying around the workshop.
Stepper motors are great for projects that require accurate control of motion. 3D printers, CNC machines and plotters are often built using these useful devices. [InventorArtist] built a stepper-based cycloid drawing machine, and made use of a nifty little hack along the way.
The machine uses a rotating turntable to spin a piece of drawing paper. A pen is then placed in a pantograph mechanism, controlled by another two stepper motors. The build uses the common 28BYJ-48 motor, which are a unipolar, 5-wire design. A common hack is to open these motors up and cut a trace in order to convert them to bipolar operation, netting more torque at the expense of being more complex to drive. [InventorArtist] worked in collaboration with [Doug Commons], who had the idea of instead simply drilling a hole through the case of the motor to cut the trace. This saves opening the motor, and makes the conversion a snap.
[InventorArtist] was able to create a machine capable of beautiful spirograph drawings, and develop a useful hack along the way. Reports are that a jig is in development to make the process foolproof for those keen to mod their own motors. We expect to see parts up on Thingiverse any day now. We’ve also covered the basic version of this hack before.
[Thanks to Darcy Whyte for the tip!]
[Matthias Wandel] is best known for his deeply interesting woodworking projects, so you might be forgiven for not expecting this lovely chocolate-engraving pantograph made from LEGO. With it, he carves a delightful valentine’s message into a square of chocolate, but doesn’t stop there. He goes the extra mile to cut the chocolate carefully into a heart, and a quick hit with a heat gun takes the rough edges off for a crisp and polished end result.
The cutting end is a small blade stuck inside a LEGO piece, but that’s the only non-LEGO part in the whole assembly. A key to getting a good carve was to cool the chocolate before engraving, and you can see the whole process in the video embedded below.
Continue reading “Watch This LEGO Pantograph Carve Chocolate Messages”
Not too long ago we wrote about a small CNC tool for automating certain parts of the woodworking process. At the time it seemed unusual in its intentionally limited scope but a few commenters mentioned it reminded them of another device, [Matthias]’s Pantorouter. It didn’t take much investigation to see that the commenters were right! The MatchSticks device does feel a bit like a CNC version of the Pantorouter, and it seemed like it was more than worth of a post by itself. The Pantorouter is a fascinating example of another small manual-but-automated tool for optimized for accelerating and improving certain woodworking operations.
Continue reading “Cool Tools: The Pantorouter Turns Tracing On Its Side”