Inflatable tentacle I

For my final project I decided that would explore inflatable ecoflex in a different shape than the gripper/walker. My initial concept was to build a tentacle that would have four air chambers around a central cylinder so that it could bend in four different directions, and hopefully by combining which chambers were inflated, manipulate the tentacle to achieve a wide range of movement. My first attempt at one of the quarters was a tapered rectangle, about 7 inches long and 3/4 inches thick. It was to be inflated by a short length of pvc fuel tube connected to a water bottle that would act as the air pump. I cast the quarter with rubber that I had purchased at the beginning of the semester thinking that it was ecoflex. However, I had purchased a different version of the Smooth-on rubber that was made for casting molds and much stiffer rubber than ecoflex. As a consequence, the rubber was much to stiff to inflate and deform properly. However, the first version was helpful in designing the subsequent molds. I went from a rectangular mold to a trapezoidal mold in order to allow the quarters to fit together better. I also used a quarter of a 1 inch PVC pipe as the bottom of the mold in order to create a rounded bottom to fit the central cylinder.

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