So, I've tried this before, and each time its become a pain in the butt in some way. This isn't abnormal in the product development process, so we keep refining the design until we come up with something better that works and meets all the design criteria. For kicks, lets go over the past designs.
The first automatically actuated grill block
was extremely simple in design, but not structurally strong enough. It was made mostly of coroplast and when installed on the car it flexed too much. All of the flexing essentially eliminated the ~1" throw of the actuator I was using.
The second design
was a lot more rigid, and designed with scalability in mind. It had an aluminum frame, with coroplast blades that had steel rods in them for reinforcement and pivoting on. However, it ended up being a pain to make and put together. It was quite time intensive building it, and it still had its issues with the pushrod setup binding.
This brings us to the Mk3 design. This version is also designed with scalability in mind, and the frame is also quite rigid. However, I didn't want to spend time building it, so much so that I don't even want to use tools to assemble it. So, this grill block is going to completely snap together. Sounds lazy eh? Sounds brilliant to me.
So, I'm posting what I have thus far. Darin has been bugging me for a few days now to start a thread about it since I started telling him about it. It is not complete, but it is a fair ways along. The design is nearly 100% 3d printed. The actuator will bolt to the assembly of 3d printed stuff and you'll probably need a pushrod or two to finish things off. That is the hope at least.
This design is primarily made for my 2000 Honda Insight. It has a very short lower grill. The opening is only 3" tall, so I only needed a single blade. The grill block when open is currently shown as 2" x 6". I'll probably end up making it a bit longer, but its about as tall as it is going to get.
Here is the blade. You can see its made of 3 pieces. If I need to make it longer, I can make the pieces longer, or add additional pieces that snap together between the end pieces. I've printed these pieces and tested out the snap fit and its surprisingly strong.
Here is the frame. I have not been able to print and test these snap fittings yet. They're very similar in design to the blades though and I'm pretty sure they'll be fairly strong. If not, they can be tweaked.
Here is the assembly as far as I have it so far. The blades fit into the slots on the frame, and there is another clip that holds the blade in. It is 100% snap together.
The next step is designing the mount for the actuator (a power door lock actuator), and developing the linkages between it and the blade. I already have some ideas, I just need to model them up. I'll be updating this thread as I get more designed.
As always, I'm open to ideas and feedback that you guys have.