The frame is finally complete

After a month or more of work the steel frame for Kevin is complete and painted. This is something I have been looking forward to for a long time as it means I can start attaching components and running cables.

I have spend a while getting to this stage, making sure everything is as planned out as it can be as once things go on it's going to be very difficult to make modifications. Welding and spraying new parts will probably require components to be removed and/or masked off.

The frame as it stands includes mounting options for the motors, batteries, motor controllers, power distribution box, a motor control sub system as well as rails for some sensors. There is more to go on such as the main control system boxes but I need to draw a line under the build of the frame and this seems like a good point.

Design Process

I started out the build with a simple sketch of the center layer showing how the motors would mount to the frame, I then added some battery mounts and reinforcements, all sketched out first in a notebook so I could get the measurements correct. Once this centerpiece was complete I needed to start work on the frame above and below the midpoint, I tried sketching this out but I had trouble visualising how everything would come together and how it would look. To get past this I turned to the computer and Sketchup, something I have always put off when doing this type of work.

I have played around with Sketchup in the past but I found it very slow going and came to the conclusion that it would most likely hinder my working process by slowing everything down. Despite this one evening I sat down and spent about 6 hours in front of the computer slowly recreating what I had already built. It took awhile to get the hang of it but it was a fun process and at the end I had a perfect 3d representation of what I had built.

With the model in hand I started adding components and metalwork and building out the rest of the frame, it took a few weeks playing around with the design but I ended up with something that worked. With a 3d model that looked good and fitted the components that needed to go on I set about finishing the work for real.

Below you can see the 3d model I created as well as the actual frame, they are almost millimeter perfect copies.