Engineering is fun, short discription of non MNE (Micro and Nano Engineering)  related stuff.

BioMechanical experiments with a driving simulator. The windowview is projected around the driver, and a steering wheel and pedals from ford  are transferred to the simulator. However, the clutch pedal in the simulator was connected to a linear spring. It missed the characteristic force-displacement feeling which 'tells' you when the clutch is about to engage. With the experience of replaceing several clutches, i reasoned the nonlineair behavior must arise from the Diaphragm spring. We thought that if we could make a mechanism that feels the same as a real car, the operation of the clutch in driving simulator would decrease the gap between simulator and reality.

On a rainy afternoon i fabricated the red box with 3 springs. The clutch pedal is connected to the iron wire (left) and pulls when the clutch is engaged. At a certain point the leafspring will be instable and buckles to the other side. However, after installing the force difference was noticible, but rather weak. Besides, the springs generated to much noise, and so i left the device for what it was.

 

In the new design we let go of the mechanical idea and made an prototype in which the spring supplies a lineair ramp, but at some point a electromotor is progressisvely engaged to produce the force dropexperienced in the pedal. The motor is controlled by pulswith modulation with a MOSFET, and the signal was generated with a 16F877 programmable microcontroller. To measure the position of the pedal the original potmeter of the simulator was replaced by a stereo one.

The motor was a cheap, old, French one of the brand 'Duccelier', 0.5 ohms armature resistance, so really high torque, and costed 2 euro at 'Radio Twente' in the Den Haag. The aluminium 'tandriem' and 'riemwielen' were obtained at Bernard Sanders Aandrijftechniek, also in Den Haag, and costed around 50 euro. Inside the big wheel a small SKF ballbearing is glued.. The spring is from 'Roveron', the Rotterdam based spring manufacturer. It was in shape when i bought it, but i had to deformed it to put it in place..

 At the time of writing a fellow student is writing a report about the effects.

In collaboration with promovendus S.d.G. we developed a special switch which feels like the transmission in a monococ racecar. We further installed a Thrustmaster feedback mechanism to steering wheel so the feeling of cornering is added. Drivers of the team of Stefan and DUT can compare their skills in it and work on their tactics. Just some pictures: