Welcome to the Pistonrobot website. The website is mostly here to discuss the Pistonrobot so that people will know about it and perhaps a group or corporation will create the Pistonrobot.Download Pistonrobot walking 44mb mp4 (570 downloads) Download KeyShot Walkabout 2 laps mp4 124 mb (544 downloads)
My discussion about the pistonrobot revolves mainly around my creation of this robot design in the 3D drawing program that I use. This program was Sketchup, but I have upgraded to be using Sketchup Pro, and am currently upgraded to using the Sketchup Pro 2021 version. I understand that others may be interested in the pistonrobot, but they prefer to contemplate and perhaps discuss the pistonrobot or the design issues that I discuss concerning the pistonrobot, but they prefer to do this via a different 3D drawing program. The *fbx file format is currently used by many 3D drawing programs as a type of “interchange” file format, in the sense that one 3D drawing program, even though it saves its content in a file format that only it can open, this same program can also export its content into a *.fbx format, and another 3D drawing program can successfully import these *.fbx files. The effect of this is that one 3D drawing program can exchange its content with another 3D drawing program via this *.fbx file format export-import process.
NOTE: *.fbx file types can be used as an interchange file format for 3D programs to import 3D drawings that are saved in the fbx format. An fbx import requires one to import the fbx file, this imports the 3D structures. In addition, one needs to import a folder containing image files where these image files serve as the templates for textures present in the 3D drawing. These texture files should all be placed in the same folder. During the import process the drawing program will ask “Where are the texture files for this fbx import?” At that point, one points the drawing program doing the import to the location of that folder that contains all the texture image files. Thus, for each 3D drawing there will be two downloads to do. One is to download the *.fbx file. The other is to open the folder that contains the texture image files and one by one copy and paste these texture image files from this website into a folder on the local hard drive so that the drawing program performing the *.fbx import can be pointed to this texture files folder on the local hard drive.
I have placed here also a low res image of what 3D drawing the particular fbx file set will create.Download fbx file 920mb title: Stances Straight Line Walking Only v506 (9 downloads) Download 41mb Large PNG image: This image Shows the Pistonrobots Walking Along in a Straight Line (9 downloads) Download KeyShot package file 290mb: Used to create the Robots Walking in a Straight Line png image (10 downloads) Download fbx file 940mb title: Stances Standing to Deep Knee Bend to Standing again only v507 (11 downloads) Download 42mb Large PNG image: This Shows a Pistonrobot Going from Standing to a Deep Knee Bend then Back to Standing (8 downloads) Download KeyShot package file 307mb: Used to create the Robot Going from Standing to Deep Knee Bend then Back to Standing png image (5 downloads) Download fbx file 326mb Title: using v526 FINAL of Sophisticated Linear drive v509 (11 downloads) Download fbx file 216mb Title: using v345 FINAL Simple Linear Actuator v348 (8 downloads)
There are no texture files associated with the Simple Linear Actuator.
I list here the Sketchup Pro 2021 drawing files (*.skp file format) that I created to draw out the 3D structures listed above.Download Sketchup Drawing file 6mb title: Stances Straight Line Walking Only v506 (8 downloads) Download Sketchup Drawing file 7mb title: Stances Standing to Deep Knee Bend to Standing again only v507 (7 downloads) Download 6mb Sketchup Pro 2021 *.skp drawing file: This is the Sophisticated Linear Actuator (7 downloads) Download 9mb Sketchup Pro 2021 *.skp drawing file. This is the Simple Linear Actuator (9 downloads)
I enjoy the activity of designing the pistonrobot just to create a design of a robot that I feel really would be a workable physical item if it were created. I also find that the renderings of the robots from KeyShot are simply pleasant to look at. KeyShot can create renderings with a lot of detail, but it makes the images large. A problem with placing large images on a website is that the opening and displaying of these large images can become more complex than what one’s browser will allow. So, I tend to make smaller versions of my images that are displayed on my webpages. I feel, however, if one wants to just “have some fun” with some really large, but beautiful images, then I store these large image files on my website and make them available as downloadable files. Some of these images are also displayed here.
There are two topics that I address with these downloads. I made a sequence of the pistonrobots just walking along in a straight line, I called this “Straight Line Walking.” I used these images to create some of the pistonrobot animations. These pistonrobots that I used to demonstrate straight line walking did not have arms because I had not yet created the arms. I also wanted to demonstrate the pistonrobot using its mimic design. The pistonrobot is designed to be a mimic of the human, both in its proportions, and its types of motions, and it ranges of motions of its joints. I wanted to show the pistonrobot moving from one stance to a different stance as a set of drawings to show how the pistonrobot is a mimic of the human. I set out a series of drawings where the pistonrobot is initially standing upright, then it moves its joints and appendages to get itself into a deep knee bend stance, then it moves itself back to the “just standing there” pose. I include some images that are renderings from these sets of activities.
I feel the best design element to provide the motive force for the pistonrobot is to use a hydraulic cylinder. Hydraulic cylinders have a motion type that is a very close mimic to the human muscle and a lot of force and power can be placed into a structure that has a very small volume if one uses hydraulic cylinders. Problems with hydraulic cylinders, however, include that they are complex, expensive, and that it is not simple to monitor the motion of a hydraulic cylinder in a manner that is easily converted from analog measurements of the movement of the hydraulic cylinder’s parts into digital data that can be sent to and processed by the CPU of the robot.
It seems reasonable to me to design an electrically powered linear actuator that has a motion very similar to a hydraulic cylinder, but this linear actuator does not need any of the parts and procedures of actual hydraulic motion. I designed what I call the “Simple Linear Actuator.” This simple version is an actuator that (I hope) is a very inexpensive version of a hydraulic cylinder. This simple version does powered motion and little else. I designed it so that people with limited budgets could make a pistonrobot and actually “power it up” and watch it move, even on a small budget. I designed another electrically powered linear actuator that I call the “Sophisticated Linear Actuator.” This actuator has significantly better features than the Simple Linear Actuator and would allow one to create a pistonrobot that could really be a cool robot that could do a lot of actions and do them well with (I hope) very little problems, breakages, or down times.
I also added downloadable files here of these two Linear Actuators including again, Sketchup Pro 2021 drawing files, *.fbx exports of these Sketchup drawing files, and some rendered images of these Linear Actuators.
Finally, I feel many people are sufficiently knowledgeable about 3D drawings and 3 drawing programs that they could just look at the downloads and understand everything. I do feel there are people who have interest in the pistonrobot and the issues that I am discussing, but these persons are not very familiar with 3D drawing software. So, I created some mp4 videos where I just talk along about these topics and have ongoing visual input from the Sketchup Pro program output. I have included links here to some of my YouTube videos about the Pistonrobot.
So everyone…Enjoy! Dr. Gray
I think a robot that is designed to be a mimic of the human form and the human nature of moving will be a robot where decisions about how the robot should move will be easier. Of course, if the robot exists as a construction inside a 3D drawing program (for example the program, SketchupPro 2021), then it is reasonable to show how this robot could be made to “move around” inside this program. Follows is the url for a YouTube video that I prepared discussing and demonstrating moving the pistonrobot around by use of the SketchupPro 2021 3D drawing program.
I think if we allow hydraulic cylinders (pistons) to be the motive force item for a robot, that this choice best allows a robot to have a human form and to behave (move) as a mimic of a human being. I think this ability of the robot to mimic human motion is exceptionally important on the topic of a balanced bipedal walking structure. As one attempts to make a balanced walking bipedal device, two large problems arise immediately. Problem 1) How exactly does one want this device to look? How are the creators of this device going to answer the multiple questions of just how is this device put together, what is the proportions of its limbs, what kinds of joints will it have, what is the range of motion of each of these joints, etc.?
I see this problem as the physical design questions problem. Problem 2) How are the designers going to choose which motions the robot will use as it solves the problems of how to get itself walking from a stable standing stance, how will it just walk along on level ground, how will it change its direction of walking, how will it perform recovery or compensatory motions to react to the event of the robot beginning to fall over?
It seems so clear to me that all of the fundamental and difficult design decisions that flow from the questions and problems of the previous paragraph are so easily answered if we decide, as the designers, that we are simply going to mimic the human form. Thus, for all the design questions that come up, all we have to say is, (for questions of what physical form should we give to the parts of the robot) “Well….what is the physical structure that is used in humans?
Or, once the physical robot exists, our answer to questions of what programming are we going to use so the robot can respond to the situation at hand, we can simply say “Well…how do humans respond to this movement problem?”
I wanted people to be able to create a pistonrobot or perhaps just some parts of a pistonrobot to see how this “mimic a human” approach could be done. I feel it would also help to demonstrate to people just how simple everything becomes if we can follow fairly carefully the design principle of “mimic a human.”
Unfortunately, while I feel the “piston” or “hydraulic cylinder” structure serving as the motive force item of the pistonrobot is exceptionally helpful, I understand that working with hydraulic cylinders adds a significant level of complexity and expense. I decided I should design a Linear Actuator that could serve as an electric substitute for a fully “fluid-under-pressure” hydraulic cylinder system. The main advantage of the Linear Actuator approach is that a Linear Actuator is less expensive and less complicated than a hydraulic cylinder and with a Linear Actuator, the only power source that needs to be present and functioning is nothing more than electric power.
So I am showing here my design of two different Linear Actuators. I named the first one as the “Simple Linear Actuator.” I named the second one as the “Sophisticated Linear Actuator.” The main feature of the Simple Version is that (I hope) my design allows inexpensive creation of a functional Linear Actuator so that people can investigate the concepts of the pistonrobot with an inexpensive, simple, easily understood, and easily implemented Simple Linear Actuator.
The main feature of the Sophisticated Linear Actuator is that it allows one to have a pistonrobot that can function just as if it had true hydraulic cylinders, but it does not have the complexity and troubles associated with true hydraulic cylinders, such as: fluids under pressure, piping, valves, hydraulic media, leaks, fittings, seals, pumps, motors for pumps, etc.
I did want this Sophisticated Linear Actuator to have very impressive capabilities so that there would not be limitations forced on the pistonrobot from using a Linear Actuator instead of a Hydraulic Cylinder. I am hoping that a pistonrobot with the Sophisticated Linear Actuators could be a robot that could exactly mimic a pistorobot that was constructed with hydraulic cylinders.
I decided the best way to introduce and describe these Linear Actuators in a manner where people could really understand how they work and people could create one of these Linear Actuators was for me to create a set of videos that describe these Linear Actuators. These videos are of the mp4 type. I have uploaded them to my YouTube channel.
I placed them on YouTube because they are large videos. The video discussing the Simple Linear Actuator is 2 hours long and is 2.33 gigabytes in size. The video discussing the Sophisticated Linear Actuator is one hour long and is 1.37 gigabytes in size. I know that many people prefer YouTube so that they do not have to manage files of this size. I also feel there could be people who want these mp4 files to be present on their own computer so that they can refer to them as video files that they physically own.
Here are the url addresses of these videos on my YouTube Channel:Download mp4 video (1.37 gigabytes) title: Linear Drive Whole Video (12 downloads) Download mp4 video (2.33 Gigabytes) title: New Intro Section The Simple Linear Drive Parts 01 thru 16 (36 downloads)
I feel that a reliable, simple, accurate, and easily understandable method to “sense” the extent of retraction-extension of a piston is just essential in order for pistons to be feasible as a method to provide motive power to a robot. I decided to describe this new sensory system via a set of 5 minute videos that piece-by-piece put together how this sensory capability will be created.
This link will take you to a page of this website that lists these videos. As I create the videos, I will upload them to this page on the website. I also try to get them uploaded to my YouTube account. When you go to YouTube just type in Pistonrobot and all the videos should show up.
Well…. a New Year is here (2019) so I thought to add a brief note of what I’ve been up to. In October, 2018, I thought I would take a few months off from the robot to work on a Flying Machine. I think The Flying Machine is interesting to consider. This particular Flying Machine is designed around a heavy lift function. My design interest is to create a Flying Machine that has enough lift to be able to carry a person or a payload that weighs about as much as a human being or even a little bit more than that. Perhaps a payload in the range of about 300 lbs. When I looked at my design for this Flying Machine, I thought is was just fun to look at and that the design is a cool idea for a toy for the Holiday Season. Hahahaha… nothing ever gets designed in the amount of time one thinks might be needed. Anyway, it never made it to the finished toy stage by the time the 2018 Holidays were here.
I’m still working on it.
More about the Flying Machine is at the page named:
All to follow. Stay tuned! pg
I also took a year off to create arms for the pistonrobot. Its interesting, an autonomous robot needs to have very central to its creation an ability to get itself back to standing balanced and upright in the bipedal pose after it falls down. Because, particularly as the robot is developed, it’s gonna’ fall down a lot! Anyway, I realized that arms are so important in the process of giving protection to the robot to try to prevent damage as it is falling over, and also to help the robot to go through the motions and actions that allow it to get itself from “down on the ground” back to “standing up.” So I gave it arms and they have a significant range of motion in all axes as will be needed and they are robust and have a lot of potential force that they can exert. All of this is needed, it is weird to me that this topic of stance recovery is not really featured much in autonomous robot discussions. Anyway, I got one of the “New” pistonrobots and sent him outside to pose in front of the trees to show us all his new arms, and I asked him to give us a wave, and I even got a little smile. I thought the image was cool, so here it is. More to come.
Of interest, I discovered that (at least to me) as I created images of the Pistonrobot really just for the purpose of helping to show whatever feature of the Pistonrobot that I was describing at the time, that, well…..it was a surprise to me, some of the images are just pretty to look at. So I have parts of the website that are mostly present to display the Pistonrobot images and set the website up so people can download these images.
I found that I could make sets of 3D drawings where I incrementally alter the position of the Pistonrobot, make renders from these 3D drawing files, and then “string” these rendered images together to make videos that, again, as a great surprise to me, have the appearance of videos of the Pistonrobot moving around, and there is not even a physically real version of the Pistonrobot! I am just fascinated by that and I give some space on the website where I discuss how these videos were created.
I also discuss other topics of interest to me at this website and these topics really don’t have much to do with the Pistonrobot or robotics, but they are topics that I think are interesting. These topics are arranged in their own section.
I sometimes create images via Sketchup and/or via renderings of Sketchup outputs. These images are scattered around the website. I will also from time to time put a few of these images here on the home page, mostly because I feel they are just cool to look at. Some are related to the Pistonrobot and some are about other topics.
I feel the images are always better to view in their large format. I create them as large size images, but one cannot just place large filesize images on a website because websites will bog down and frequently stop functioning as they try to open images bigger than about 3 mb. These images are created by rendering Sketchup 2018 Pro drawing files. I use KeyShot v7 to render these drawing files. I think there is interest in people working with their own version of KeyShot to see how they can create Pistonrobot images. KeyShot can do its rendering by using a KeyShot package file. I offer some of my KeyShot package files for free download
at this page of the website: https://pistonrobot.com/free-downloads-keyshot-package-files-other-topics/
I finally figured out a way around the problem of how one could offer people large file size images so they could download them and then look at them. I discuss this in more detail including some large filesize images free for download on this page of the website: Pistonrobot webpage about large file size images
Now that I’ve figured out how I can offer large file size images for download, I hope to just keep adding more. My plan is to add them at that page I showed above. Enjoy !
Here’s one of those larger images that you can download (note I’m showing here the 3mb version so it won’t bog down your viewing of this page, the large size version of this image is 31mb).
Again, welcome, I’m glad you’re here and have a good time and come back again anytime. pg
Note: I also have a LinkedIn listing under my name: Patrick Gray
Note: I try to keep my most recent SketchUp drawings at my collection on the 3D Warehouse site maintained by Trimble for SketchUP drawings.
link: SketchUP 3D Warehouse drawings
link address https://3dwarehouse.sketchup.com/
I made an mp4 video showing internal and external rotation of the left arm. I made this video using stop motion techniques to create the video from still image renders from KeyShot v7.
Here’s the KeyShot package file you can use to see how I did this in KeyShot (of note, you will need KeyShot to open this package file (and I think you may be required to use the educational version of KeyShot, I am not sure on this point).Download 34mb This is a KeyShot package file named: shoulder int ext rotation video colors correct v9 int ext rotation v23 (198 downloads)
Once you get to the 3D Warehouse, in order for you to see my SketchUp drawings at the Warehouse, you will need to ask the Warehouse to search for my collection. The name of my collection at the 3D Warehouse is: pistonrobot
I’ve added some new images in the Turning Prayer section. I just thought they looked really cool, so I added them. They will go onto a TShirt at some point, I am still figuring out how to do this.
Here’s the front image of our next tshirt:
Here’s another of the Turning Prayer TShirts:
I wanted to show how the fuel injectors would heat up the air in the combustion chamber. So I just worked around to see if I could make anything that looks like 3D flames. Anyway, this is the engine that I am designing to be the power supply of the robot. I plan a YouTube lecture on it, the video name will be: Pistonrobot the Engine of the Heart
Here’s the actual Sketchup Pro 2019 drawing file for this new engine:Download 10mb This is a Sketchup Pro drawing file named: Engine All Parts v445.skp (138 downloads)
Here’s a video showing this engine running.
Here’s where you can download the video 53mb mp4 that I made showing this engine as it runs.Download 53mb This is an mp4 Video File named: Final-Engine-Sketchup-Images-Whole-Engine-plus-Closeup-valve-Plus-Keyshot-images-at-the-end-v1.mp4 (201 downloads)
But I’m not quite ready to start creating the video where it shows imagery of the gas flow, and the injection of the heated fuel, and the ignition of the fuel, but I thought the flames were cool, so I sent them up to the warehouse
and (as usual) this is a 3D drawing that has a lot more to show if you will download it from the Trimble 3D Warehouse site and open it on your own computer.
as it happens, the Little Guy needed to “bulk up” some in order to get that engine in his chest. Isn’t that always the case…..
I thought he looked pretty much OK with the big chest, if Pistonrobot is ever actually created, it will probably be the military that does it anyway…..
and they all look like that.
Amazon’s gonna’ let me sell Pistonrobot T’s via their merchandise site. I’ll see if I can get the Big Guy on a T. I don’t know yet, this stuff gets complicated really fast. More to come.
Welcome to all. We will describe on this site a bipedal walking robot and show the design and programming elements needed so that this walking robot could actually be constructed and can be made to walk. It’s gonna’ be fun, you just watch. The purpose of this site is to make it clear that such a robot could be built and that it will function just as it is described. We note that as of yet, the robot does not exist. Some of the important design features of the robot derive from the specifications listed above. We will have the robot to exist in a physical form that is very similar to the human. Since this robot will be a demonstrator that a robot can be created that exhibits the same type of balanced, graceful, fluid, and energy efficient motion as does a human, then we want to quickly stop the assertion that such a structure cannot be made and will not work. Shaping a robot so that it has a human form is ideal to meet this requirement for fundamental feasibility because one can contemplate the human form anytime one wants to, and one can see its form and motion. It makes no sense to look at the human in motion, and then assert that such a physical shape and form of motion is not possible. Of course it is possible, there it is right in front of you.
Updates about my work with Pistonrobot are listed at the page below: