Earthquake shake table - preprogrammed motion

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Earthquake shake table - preprogrammed motion

Postby sunderwood » Wed May 10, 2017 6:25 pm

Hi all, first post! I'm a middle school tech teacher who's started dabbling into MS Physics. We have a unit where students build an earthquake-resistant structure out of straws/string/pins. The structure is then placed on a thin piece of wood which rolls around on some marbles in a larger square of wood, with some rubber bands on the sides to keep the table coming back to center. Essentially, we test their buildings in two directions when shaking.

Now that I'm playing in MS Physics, I'd like to try and build a digital version for them to try different structural designs. I have no idea how to replicate straws being held together by string and pins, so my alternative would be to perhaps just give them the file with the shake table along with ~50 small blocks to use to build some kind of tower with. What I would LIKE then is a consistent "shake test" so it's more than me just dragging my mouse and pulling the bottom board around. I'm sure there's a way to program mouse movements in Ruby, but I have no coding knowledge sadly.

I uploaded the example I made so far if anybody has time to take a look. It seems really easy to knock down any structure I build, so I wonder if there's a better way to have them build test structures.

Anybody have any ideas on how to best accomplish a fun, worthwhile test to try different structural ideas with a pre-programmed shake pattern so that their tests can be consistent?

edit: as a side and possibly related question, I've figured out how to make the slider appear from the servo, and I can control the minimum and maximum of how much I can rotate my table. However, I'm wondering if I can attach two movements to the same slider bar. As in I'm spinning it left to right, but also want to be able to have an up and down spin based on the same control bar. (Don't know if this means attaching two servos to the same base piece or what)
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Re: Earthquake shake table - preprogrammed motion

Postby filibis » Wed May 10, 2017 11:43 pm

I don't know much about MSphysics but thanks for jenga game! :D

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Re: Earthquake shake table - preprogrammed motion

Postby Anton_S » Thu May 11, 2017 3:49 am

For, that you can add a piston joint and connect it to the floor. Then in the piston joint add an oscillator controller, like oscillator(10). You can also multiply the oscillator value by some constant to increase the magnitude, like oscillator(10) * 50. Ensure the floor is movable and its shape is not static mesh.
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Re: Earthquake shake table - preprogrammed motion

Postby sunderwood » Thu May 11, 2017 2:47 pm

Anton_S wrote:For, that you can add a piston joint and connect it to the floor. Then in the piston joint add an oscillator controller, like oscillator(10). You can also multiply the oscillator value by some constant to increase the magnitude, like oscillator(10) * 50. Ensure the floor is movable and its shape is not static mesh.


Thanks - great idea! I had tried adding different joints in the past, but I was unaware of the controller types. I knew you could generate a slider, but didn't know anything about the "Oscillator" command. I added two pistons and attached them to the bottom board for left-right and up-down shaking, and can now just set the multiplier to different values for a couple different tests. For instance, maybe have students start at *5 for first test, *10, and then *20 for maximum strength test or something like that. Thanks so much!

Now I wonder if there's any good way to simulate the tools they are going to build with (straws, string, and paperclips)..... that seems very hard to connect things in a realistic way. I might just generate a bunch of random blocks off to the side they have to piece together into a tower.
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Re: Earthquake shake table - preprogrammed motion

Postby sunderwood » Thu May 11, 2017 5:12 pm

By the way, thanks again -I forgot to attach the file in the last message but here it is with the updated oscillating pistons. I think it'll work well as a template file to give to students to have them construct their own towers on top and try it at varying magnitudes. Like I mentioned before, it would be cool to actually get it working with simulated pieces that they'll actually use (straws, string, paper clips), but having a bunch of blocks to build with for conformity will probably have to do unless you guys have ideas.
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