Universal Prototyping Kit/en
Universal Prototyping Kit ("UniPro-Kit")
You may still know the metal construction kits, which have been popular in fomer decades, like Maerklin or Meccano, or even have played with in his childhood. Drilled bars, angles, wheels, flanges, transmission-rods etc. offered a wide space for creativity, rebuilding everything possible or even completely new devices.
This is nice to have for diffeent experiments and projects. One can try quick and easy different approaches and ideas - just fast prototyping.
Its btw. desirable, if the thing would be less toy-like, but more robust and bigger dimensioned.
One project which follows these guidelines in a perfect way is the the Opensource-project "Contraptor" http://www.contraptor.org
One could support the contraptor-project directly, but there are at least three reasons, why to fork a derivate into an OSEG-project:
1. The original contraptor-project is dimensioned in the imperial System. This influences massively the availability of needed components, but also the system of the internal grid size. Therefore very soon occured the demand of a metric contraptor for european users and first trials and adaptations appeared. But it turned out to be very complicated, so it may be an alternative way, to develop the system again and from the scratch, then trying to translate it into the metric system. More info on that are available at http://gatonero.wikidot.com/forum/start
2. The contraptor-project is focused on cartesic robots,like plotters, CNC-mills, Reprap, etc. So it was possible to keep the number of needed components very smal and surveyable. But for a bigger bandwith of constructable machines and devices it would be good to introduce a greater number of components, like gears, flanges and all that stuff from the old metal construction kits. This may lead to a bigger complexity, but offers more possibilities lateron.
3. The UniPro-Kit can be used as a platform to easy make some of the other OSE-projects in a fast and simple manner, eg. CNC-PCB-router and 3D-Printer-Primer ("RepStrap").
The UniPro-Kit supports some of the central guidelines and frame-conditions of the contaptor-project as follows:
2. Standard-materials: easy available, eg. in the next hardware-shop.
3. DIY-able: One should be able to manufacture at least the basic components with manual tools and jigs.
4. Backward-compatibility: New components and extensions should well fit into the system grid dimensions.
5. Much universal usable components instead of proprietary components that only fit into a few special applications.
6. All elements are also virtual available: A Sketchup-Model-Library makes it possible, to develop a construction in a virtual 3D-space.
7. Self-reproducibility: The UniPro-Kit can be used, to develop automated production-machines for its own basic components.