One of my favorite recent movies is Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse released in 2018.
The Spider-verse concept is really cool. It opens the possibilities that there are parallel dimensions which allow for many different evolutions of Spider-man. The movie had some very crazy characters:
Just a Few of the Heroes of the Spider-Verse
Since I was six, I thought it would be cool to make my own web caster. Not knowing much then, I thought I could have an explosive shoot out fishing line with a suction cup on the end and it could do the trick. 3D printers were just getting somewhat affordable and we didn't have one at the time. So, the project idea was shelved.
Since then, my Dad (sjmill01) and I have become Makers. It gave me a thought, what if in the Spider-Verse there was another character - say, 14 years old, only child, grew up with old motors and mechanical parts in the basement and electronics tools. He's accumulated two 3D printers and a welder. At 9, he started a Maker channel (Raising Awesome). He has a friend that can sew, and THEN, at 14, was bitten by the radioactive Maker bug...well arachnid. He was a Maker first - then got his Spidey powers. What would that character be like?
<drawing to come soon>
At its core, this project is a "wearables" project. The following skills will be applied:
- C/Python programming
- Autodesk Fusion 360
- Circuit Design
- CO2 Powered Wrist Gauntlet Webslinger using Emma Kites Kevlar® kite thread (as thin as it sounds, it can hold about 3x my weight)
- Spidey Sense Rear Proximity Sensor to flag close objects
- Spidey Sense Rear Camera to use Microsoft Azure Machine Vision to report objects seen
- (In testing) Small vibration motor that will rest on the neck and vibrate whenever the sensors report a danger
The gauntlet will house a 12V solenoid valve to provide a burst of pressure to shoot out a hook that is tethered with Kevlar®. No MCU is needed for this, just a momentary switch sewn into the palm of the glove.
The camera & proximity sensor will be sewn into the back of the shirt. They would be centered into the spider pattern. The wires leaving them would be integrated into the spider legs. The Raspberry Pi A+ will serve as a brain for the full suit, controlling all sensors and cameras within the suit. Along with that, we're going to be taking advantage of the built in RGB display on the front of the Sense HAT to change logos like when the "Spidey Sense" is triggered. With the timing of this, I should be able to score one last Halloween costume.
Seinfeld's Take on Halloween
The holder of the webcaster will be 3D printed. It will contain the CO2 Cartridge and solenoid valve. And yes, this is for children 14 and up - DO NOT POINT AT SELF OR OTHERS.
Forth Prototype of the Webslinger Design (100% not Final)
To handle the Spidey-sense components, I'm using:
To project the hook, I'm using
- 12V, 1/4" Gas Solenoid Valve
- 16 gram 3/8"-24 CO2 Cartridge
- 1/4" tubing
12 V, 1/4" Gas Solenoid Valve
16 Gram 3/8"-24 threaded CO2 Cartridges
The First Few Webslingers:
Of course, before we turned to CO2, there were loads of ideas I sketched up in Autodesk Fusion. I studied the many designs of Nerf guns, although it wasn't enough to bring a solid understanding of how spring mechanics worked. As simple as it sounds, a lot of Nerf guns use air compression in their way of firing. They draw back on a small compression tank, which is spring loaded behind the slide, and that is what propels the dart forward when it shoots.
Cutaway of the "Maverick" Nerf Gun, showing all of the componets
Although, when it comes to lobbing a steel hook to a desired 15-20 feet, all while tugging a string off of a spool, a spring that charges a two inch air tank wasn't enough in the slightest. It was time I found an upgrade.
Our Modern Webslinger:
After a lot of trials with the spring loaded varient, ranging from taking up my whole forearm to only a bit of my wrist for what I called "movie accuracy," my dad and I decided it was time for the more useful upgrade. Changing to CO2 was the only way we were going to get a hook to shoot that far.
The First Trial
At first, we didn't have the full grasp of knowledge behind how things like CO2 powered BB guns worked. Our first day was pretty much us researching and remembering details of a previous project that delt with the same thing. Our first official trial would be the next day. I designed a small wristband with a tube along the top and a cylinder off to the side for the cartridge to be loaded into. At first glance, this would be our best work. But... it was far from it. (Or should I say, "Far From Home.")
The wristband was designed as seen above. This was before I came to the shocking realization that the curvature of a human arm is outward expanding, and not the equivelant of placing an ellipse in Autodesk Fusion and extruding a few inches. Whenever I pulled it out of the printer for the first time, I felt really happy to see that this design had come so far. Immediately, I attempted to mount it upon the inside of my wrist, which then led to the unclean brim around the edges of the print slicing my arm up pretty well. That stung a lot for a good while, but while i was patching myself up, my dad came up with a better idea.
We used a profile gauge to measure my wrist from the front to the back, drew those onto paper, and then traced that in Autodesk. When that was extruded to desired length, we knew that we were in the endgame then.
The First Mobile Use
When we took this new design out to the air compressor in the garage, it shot a good 15 feet. Although, what Spider-man would have a 4 foot air compresser dragging behind him at all times? We knew we had to complete the mobile part of this to get full results. When we set up the webslinger to a 12g CO2 cartridge, we got it to shoot a solid 50 feet with wind, and about 15 again with our old Kevlar string attached. This was solid progress like we hadn't seen before.
Designing A Spool of Kevlar
For something as simple as a tool you would use to wrap a bit of thread up for sewing, it seems to find a way to get a lot harder when you have to make it fly out, retract, and have enough Kevlar to hold someone's weight. We knew we had to find a way that this little metal hook could be roped back in so I wouldn't have to. We devised a plan involving a skateboard bearing, a hobby motor, a belt, and a load of 3D printed parts.
Our Current Prototype
This, of course, won't take my whole weight. So that design should be good for now.
More updates will come as we continue the project. We should begin to work on programming the suit soon.