[Part 2] Raw Material Prototyping and Part Ordering

"Before I made a purchase on Aluminum metals at OnlineMetals.com, I had to do a quick prototyping of the raw materials I was going to buy to make sure that they come in with the dimensions I wanted. I could surely read the dimensions from their website, but it is always good to physically visualize them. The perfect material to do this job is a letter size piece of paper."


For example, the picture above shows a section of aluminum pipe that I was gong to buy. Since I could check all the available pipe diameters on their website, all I had to do is to come up with a range of possible diameters and make prototypes of all the possible cases to see which one is the one that I really need. For my case, I wanted something sturdy, but not to heavy, so I tried out many different diameters and eventually settled with 0.5'' nominal size which has slightly larger diameter than .5'' which I think is an optimal compromise between the stiffness and the weight. Well, right then I couldn't really tell how sturdy the aluminum pipe would turn out to be because all I had was just a paper prototype, but I guess this was something that I had to use my imagination.


Now, the I got paper prototypes of Aluminum pipe, 1''x2'' rectangular pipes, and 1'x2' Aluminum plate. The blanket right next to the plate prototype is to compare the actual size of UPC design to the raw materials. 1'x2' rectangular pipe will become a navigation pole. 

[Update] I have received the metals finally. It turns out the prototyping was really identical to the metals I purchased. 


The 0.375'' Aluminum plate is much thicker than I thought. But this is okay and may actually be better for structural stability. One of the reason behind this thickness choice was that I wanted to make sure that all the screws mounting gear boxes, electric boards, batteries, ... do not penetrate the plate all the way through. Because if they do, I may end up having a bunch of screw heads sticking out of the plate on which I will stand on. I cannot allow this to happen for safety issues and most of all for aesthetics. The easiest and quickest solution was to get a thick plate and tap a hole maybe 80% through the thickness and still end up engaging enough threads. The ideal thickness that does not compromise the portability (total weight) is 0.375''.

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