Archive for the ‘Design’ Category

Wild Dubai

Posted by Naturebytes

We’ve been in Dubai for a few weeks now – and we’ve been overwhelmed at how keen the UAE is to engage with Nature EdTech at naturebytes! If you’re an educator or school in Dubai or the UAE that’s looking to engage students with smart STEM skills, get involved – and spread the word!

Working with the Dubai Future Foundation, the KHDA and our Pioneer partners, the naturebytes team of conservation, technology and education specialists are delivering bespoke education and technology programmes – tailored to the needs of Dubai.

We’re working with the youth of Dubai to give them the tech skills and tools they need to solve the real-world environmental challenges, reconnect with nature and create a brighter future for themselves!

Find out more at www.naturebytes.org/dubai

Injection Moulding of Wildlife Cam Case

Posted by Naturebytes

It does this by injecting material – most commonly thermoplastic and thermosetting polymers at high pressure into a “tool”.

The diagram below details the components within our tool. A common analogy is to compare the parts within a tool to that of a car engine to help understand how the moving parts within the tool work. Consider the plates as the engine sump, the core as the pistons, the cavity as the cylinder and the ejections pins are the camshaft and valves. Ultimately, a lot of moving parts manufactured to precision. This YouTube video animates the process.

Naturebytes injection moulding tool

One of the completed Naturebytes tools can be seen below. This tool created the clips that secure the case and was a simple tool to create compared to the case itself.

Completed injection mould (clips)

The tool makers identified that the camera case design would require a tool with a number of moving parts to make the sophisticated hinges, the hole in the base, the rear base clips and the pin holes. An initial difficulty was encountered due to the fact that mould tools are pulled open and close in the same direction (a process called the line of draught), but complications can arise when you need to make shapes or holes at different angles – which our tool required, so a late design change was made to add 12 separate additional moving parts and to split the tool into two separate pieces.

The completed base plate for the Wildlife Cam Kit

The completed base plate for the Wildlife Cam Kit

Originally, the plan was to have both the cover and the base of the kit in one tool to make the tool and production as cost effective as possible (the process costs tens of thousands of pounds). However, during the tool design stage, mould flow analysis highlighted a potential quality risk known as “in-balancing”. Due to the weight differences between the 2 main components this could have potentially caused a quality issue and a higher chance of “short” mouldings. When the molten plastic is forced into the tool it will fill the biggest voids first and more easily. At the extremities of the tool the plastic has less pressure and struggles to fill the remaining cavity which risks an incomplete product and thus a reject. Therefore additional time was taken to re-design the tools as two separate tools, allowing for the best possible product quality. Subsequently, making 2 tools has taken more time to complete than a single tool.

The Wildlife Cam Kit cavity

The Wildlife Cam Kit tool cavity

The Wildlife Cam Kit tool core

The Wildlife Cam Kit tool core

The 12 additional moving parts and the move to two separate tools ensured that the end product was a first rate tool, which it needed to be. The diagram below provides an overview of the complete process to date.

tooling_process_delay2

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Birds fly from the naturebytes NestBoxes

Posted by Naturebytes

Naturebytes NestBoxes have been set-up by schools all over Belgium. The NestBox was created especially for the Xperibird project, fitted out with our specialist tech, including; a Raspberry Pi computer, night-vision camera and user control interface;  creating a live video stream direct from the NestBox to the classroom. Students have closely followed the lives of their bird family as they grow from eggs, to hatchlings, to flying the nest.

NestBox Infographic

It’s been an amazing experience to see how the NestBox insights have captivated their audience – we’ve seen nesting great tits and blue tits, 14 eggs laid in just one nest, chicks taking their first flight and some of the breeding pairs are now successfully raising their second brood of the season.

The trials and tribulations of bird life have made it an emotional journey for some of the schools and their adopted bird families. One teacher from Free School of Fraipoint, Belgium said “Our school, children, parents and teachers have all been touched by this fabulous adventure! A big thank you to the designers of Xperibird!”

The Xperibird truck delivers the NestBoxes across the country

The Xperibird project is a three year project delivered to schools across Belgium by the wonderful people at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences and is funded by Google.org. Through the distribution of NestBoxes, digital learning, bird observations and data collection, the Xperibird project has brought schools and scientists together to better understand these key bird species.

National map of Xperibird NestBoxes

You can find out more and check out the latest videos on the Xperibird website, it’s great!

If you have any thoughts, questions or are interested in a similar project, get in touch as we’d love to hear from you.

Steve

naturebytes co-founder

 

 

MagPi Cam Kit Review

Posted by Naturebytes

After almost a year in development it’s always a delight to find a review of your product and see that it received praise.

Take a look in this month’s MagPi magazine (page 80) for a look at our Wildlife Cam Kit. The review identifies a few software niggles (USB write speed) and notes where we can (and should) tweak the instructions manual to improve the assembly experience, but also confirms that the case is weatherproof, the assembly is straight forward and the battery lasts for up to 3 days.

We’ve already started updating the software to improve the capture speed, so for those of you who have an original Kickstarter OS release – watch this space for an update that you’ll be able to download and apply to update your kit.

Many thanks to Philip King @ the MagPi for reviewing our kit for us.

nb_wildlife_cam_kit

Packaging, preparing and persevering

Posted by Naturebytes

As we write this, 200 prepared kits are lined up infront of us on our workshop table. We spent the last week individually preparing, testing and checking that each kit is packed and ready to go. It takes us about 20 mins to prepare each kit, and we made it to 200 before we hit the weekend. 14 hour days = 42 kits a day at best.

We’re checking that the gaskets fit, inserting metal inserts so you can screw in the acrylic base plates and cleaning the case (literally – we are dusting down and brushing each transparent lens cover with toothpaste for a crystal clean finish).

Even with all hands on deck, we still need to test and prepare the last 100 kits so we can only continue until the job is done and they are in the mail sack on their way to you.

We’ll update you again early next week, but we wanted to let you know where we are in the process as we intended to ship this week – but in reality, it took us a little longer to physically prepare each kit than we had expected.

The Naturebytes team.

IMG_2435

IMG_2437

A 200 strong army of Wildlife Cam Kits after testing. ~100 to go.

Progress update – water and dust testing success

Posted by Naturebytes

Ingress protection certification allows the rating of the level of protection against liquids and solid particles. We wanted to officially test and certify our case to ensure that the kit is fit for purpose. For the Wildlife Cam Kit, this means it is able to protect the electronics from the weather.

We sent our cases to be tested under conditions for IP 55, that means the case can protect against dust and water jets from all directions (see wikipedia for more info on IP ratings). Our kits passed with flying colours! Although some ingress of water and dust is permitted, our cases showed no signs of ingress so we think they could withstand even more. Check out the vids and images from the testing so you can see how the case was put through its paces.

Now the case is up to scratch, the final pieces can be put in place for the production of case.

We will be chatting with our tool makers and injection moulders over the next few days to finalise the processes. So, fingers crossed, we should be able to ship all your rewards to you within the next two weeks.

More updates coming soon and we’ll let you know as soon as we have a confirmed shipping date.

311b656914040d57ea7e570aad1db4af_original

After the dust test – the moment of truth

The Naturebytes Team

 

Progress update – samples and testing coming up!

Posted by Naturebytes

We had wanted this update to include pics of the shiny new case samples but further difficulties with the tool manufacturing have caused delays. It has been a little while since our last update so apologies for the silence and delays, we were waiting for good news. With the delivery of the sample cases we’ll be able to ramp up from a stutter into overdrive as we reach the final stages of production and we’ll provide you with regular updates on each step of the process.

We will be in the factory waiting to pick up the first samples as soon as they are produced, we’ll then undertake testing ourselves (immersion testing, shower with water etc.) before sending them to be officially IP (ingress protection) rated. Once we are satisfied with the quality of the final injection moulded cases we’ll give the green light to produce all the kits and ship your rewards.

We appreciate the annoyance that the delays will have caused you but please stick with us, we are doing our best to hurry the process along and get the rewards out to you as soon as possible.

Over the coming days and weeks we’ll sent you images, videos and full information on the development timeline of your Naturebytes rewards so keep your eyes peeled.

Thanks for all your continued support.

The Naturebytes Team

Our progress and an FAQ update

Posted by Naturebytes

It’s about time we posted another update, so we’re going to share a few photos of the injection moulding progress and answer a few commonly asked questions, including our best estimate as to when we think we’ll be ready to ship again.

Wildlife Cam Kit Progress

Our injection moulders are currently making small changes to the tool to enhance the quality of the case and are working to ensure there are no imperfections. We found a few small minor issues such as “sink holes” where there wasn’t enough plastic injected in time. This resulted in depressions as seen in the photo below. Shortly before we all broke for Xmas and New Year we started to work on these smaller issues and they continue to be our primary focus.

7d4fa5e24571b6dbdd39c43de57da3c4_original

A “sink hole” can be seen on the support bar

Delivery date and shipping update

To ship the Wildlife Cam Kit we are reliant on the completion of the case, so below we have pasted the latest update from our injection moulders with dates as to when we would expect the finished case to ready;

“The rear case is going well, therefore w/c 25th Jan we intend to run fresh samples. We will open the gate and make longer pin inserts on the front cover tool which we believe will eradicate the sinkage around the tabs.

So in summary, we intend to complete the new samples (front and rear) the w/c 25th for you to test. Once you are happy, we will then sand blast the tool to give a final finish. Therefore full production early February.”

We’re fast approaching the 25th of January, so we should now reach the turning point where we can sign off development and start production. With full production in early February of the case, we only need to drop in the components (that we had back in December) and get the kits in the post to you.

Frequently asked questions

Over the last few weeks we have had a number of questions and comments about the kits. We’re going to answer the most commonly asked questions below, but if you do have any not listed then do please get in touch as always.

How will the software work and can I download it?

We have used a standard version of Raspbian that has been configured to run the camera out of the box – in that it will boot up and start taking photos once constructed without the need to edit any code or config files. There are a number of scripts and instructions to help anyone from young junior programmers to users that have never used a Raspberry Pi before. It’s our intention to promote the editing of code, files and settings by following easy to understand steps, but not to scare users into having to do so. Our scripts that run timelapse, slow-mo etc… will all be available, or you can just download our image. The image will be released to all backers once we ship the final kit so everyone has access at the same time.

When will you ship rewards that don’t need the case?

We realised that the component layout needed to be tweaked after changes to the case were introduced to fix certain injection moulding issues. We needed a little more time to re-test our “print your own” 3D files and re-test that components would fit, so we haven’t yet shipped the non-case version. We do however still intend to ship and deliver all of the rewards (t-shirts etc…) in early February, as we want to complete the Kickstarter and get the community setup and going as soon as possible.

When can I get access to the Naturebytes online community?

As soon as we ship the kits we’ll release the online kit instructions, 3D print files and all of the layout plans. We don’t want to release all of the files before our backers get their kits as we could have people who didn’t back the project building their own cameras before our backers, so bear with us and we’ll soon get you, our backers, the kits and plans first as you have invested your funds in us. We’ll then release access to the wider community so everyone can benefit.

We’ll get another update out in the first week of February as we should then be about to start the final production of the eagerly awaited case.

Kind regards,

Naturebytes.

Christmas tooling update

Posted by Naturebytes

Our case tool manufacturers needed more time to ensure that the Wildlife Cam Kit’s enclosure is spot on, and we were delighted to see so many of our community support us, especially as we were concerned that many of you would have liked to have handed the kit to friends and loved ones as a Christmas present.

Yesterday we received the welcoming news that the tool has moved into the final testing phase and a prototype has been completed. We’ve received a series of evaluation photos and samples are in the post for us to physically inspect which we would like to share with you. There is also a short video available where you can see the tool in action as it’s tested to ensure the required quality is achieved and to assess if any further refinements are needed.

Injection moulding a prototype Widlife Cam Kit enclosure

Injection moulding a prototype Widlife Cam Kit enclosure

Our tool manufacturer is now in the process of assessing the tool, looking for any fettling issues, such as gating, venting and shut-off surfaces. A few tweaks have been suggested to further improve the quality of the final enclosure. We will also be looking to apply a “finish” to the enclosure to give it a cool matte look and feel.

Evaluating the prototype Widlife Cam Kit enclosure

Evaluating the prototype Widlife Cam Kit enclosure

We’ll continue to keep you up to date and we’ll report back on our progress after the Christmas break.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

The Naturebytes Team.

Injection moulding delay & progress

Posted by Naturebytes

The injection moulding process was estimated to take 12 weeks and was started in August. The process produces a large number of high quality parts, with great accuracy, quickly and efficiently. It does this by injecting material – most commonly thermoplastic and thermosetting polymers at high pressure into a “tool”.

The diagram below details the components within our tool. A common analogy is to compare the parts within a tool to that of a car engine to help understand how the moving parts within the tool work. Consider the plates as the engine sump, the core as the pistons, the cavity as the cylinder and the ejections pins are the camshaft and valves. Ultimately, a lot of moving parts manufactured to precision. This YouTube video animates the process.

Naturebytes injection moulding tool

One of the completed Naturebytes tools can be seen below. This tool created the clips that secure the case and was a simple tool to create compared to the case itself.

Completed injection mould (clips)

The tool makers identified that the camera case design would require a tool with a number of moving parts to make the sophisticated hinges, the hole in the base, the rear base clips and the pin holes. An initial difficulty was encountered due to the fact that mould tools are pulled open and close in the same direction (a process called the line of draught), but complications can arise when you need to make shapes or holes at different angles – which our tool required, so a late design change was made to add 12 separate additional moving parts and to split the tool into two separate pieces.

The completed base plate for the Wildlife Cam Kit

The completed base plate for the Wildlife Cam Kit

Originally, the plan was to have both the cover and the base of the kit in one tool to make the tool and production as cost effective as possible (the process costs tens of thousands of pounds). However, during the tool design stage, mould flow analysis highlighted a potential quality risk known as “in-balancing”. Due to the weight differences between the 2 main components this could have potentially caused a quality issue and a higher chance of “short” mouldings. When the molten plastic is forced into the tool it will fill the biggest voids first and more easily. At the extremities of the tool the plastic has less pressure and struggles to fill the remaining cavity which risks an incomplete product and thus a reject. Therefore additional time was taken to re-design the tools as two separate tools, allowing for the best possible product quality. Subsequently, making 2 tools has taken more time to complete than a single tool.

The Wildlife Cam Kit cavity

The Wildlife Cam Kit tool cavity

The Wildlife Cam Kit tool core

The Wildlife Cam Kit tool core

This original delay was incorporated into the timeline and a completion date of the first week of December slated after final tests were completed, which is why we were able to originally ship on the 14th December. However, the 12 additional moving parts and the move to two separate tools took longer than anticipated and we have been informed that the process will not be completed until January 2016. The tool makers took the decision to ensure that the end product was a first rate tool, which it needed to be, but this has resulted in the unfortunate delay. The diagram below provides an overview of the complete process to date.

tooling_process_delay2

Please feel free to comment or contact us if you have any further questions. We’ll keep you up to date throughout Devember as our toolers work to complete the tool so we can being shipping the kits.

Print a Bird House

Posted by Naturebytes

bird_house1

In an effort to reduce the cost of producing a standard bird’s nesting box, they attempted to break the form down in to the minimum number of flat pack elements.

By exploiting the flexible properties of the Nylon SLS material in sheet and corrugated form, it was possible to make a bird house / box at a fraction of the cost.

“The design of the assembly mechanism also makes it fun and satisfying to put together and means that there is still some nice human engagement in the making process”

More @ Digits and Widgets

Attachment Renders

Posted by Jon Fidler

It will be available to buy on release of our kit and allows you to attach the camera in the following ways :-

1. The attachment can be fixed to an existing bird table.

Naturebytes Wildlife Camera Kit - Bird table attachment render

Naturebytes Wildlife Camera Kit – Bird table attachment render

2. A bottle filled with food for birds can be added and then hung from a tree or building.

Naturebytes Wildlife Camera Kit - Bird feeder attachment using a recycled water bottle

Naturebytes Wildlife Camera Kit – Bird feeder attachment using a recycled water bottle

3. The attachment can be fixed to a wall or post as a permanent fixture and has an easy release mechanism which allows the camera to be removed.

You'll be able to take the Naturebytes camera inside to charge it up, or just remove it quickly to view all of the images captured with the easy release mechanism.

You’ll be able to take the Naturebytes camera inside to charge it up, or just remove it quickly to view all of the images captured with the easy release mechanism.

Watch this space for more updates as we build up to launch.

3D Printing a Camera Case: The Design Process

Posted by Naturebytes

We need to ensure we have a kit that looks great both indoors and out, houses all of the electronic parts necessary to actually power and run the camera and that it holds up to the elements. This month we thought we’d share our design process with you and bring you up to speed with where we are in terms of finishing our prototype.

It all started with an initial concept designed to act as camouflage when attached to tree trunks. We used this design to help us explain to people what our vision was and and how it might look when we first set out to develop the kit.

An early Naturebytes camera trap kit concept

An early Naturebytes camera trap kit concept

We then developed more concepts, exploring a whole range of new ideas and designs. This little family of concept designs helped us get a better idea of what we liked the most and what might work best.

An early family of our camera trap kit prototype designs

An early family of our camera trap kit prototype designs

We then took a few of our new designs and asked different user groups what they liked best. The one that received the most positive feedback was refined and 3D printed for testing in the real world.

3D printing a prototype case on a Makerbot

3D printing a prototype case on a Makerbot

After handing out the printed prototype, we tested it, tweaked it and then moved to printing out the next design to see how it stood up based on the feedback we received. Here’s what it started to look like:

The final prototype, 3D printed using an Ultimaker 2

3D printed using an Ultimaker 2

Over the next few weeks we will be moving towards the creation of a silicon (injection) mold to proof test the case’s waterproof features and to finalize the tooling necessary to mass produce cases. We’ll let you know how we get on as we near our goal of rolling out the first kits off the production line.

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