Maker Faire Bay Area takes place at the San Mateo Event Center with both indoor and outdoor exhibits. As the dates got closer this year, weather forecast called for rain. This is probably not a good thing for attendance of the event and corresponding finances, but it’s also a concern for exhibitors as well. I, for one, did not design my roaming exhibit Sawppy for rainy weather.
The first and most obvious idea was to design and 3D print an umbrella mounting bracket for Sawppy. But I was worried about the umbrella catching wind to topple over the little rover. I was also worried about wind-driven wind flying sideways and landing on components. And lastly, carrying an extra umbrella is bulk I would rather do without.
Thus I moved on to the second idea: craft a raincoat out of plastic (garbage bags, basically) that I can secure more tightly against Sawppy’s equipment bay via magnets. Aluminum extrusion beams are not magnetic, but the M3 bolts are! This should offer marginally superior protection from the elements, and less bulk to carry around.
The project started with a large black garbage bag that I had cut open to create a single sheet. [Jasmine] (who had generously hosted [Emily] and myself Thursday night) thought the opaque cover was a shame and brought out a large clear plastic bag. This way people could still see inside Sawppy even when wearing the raincoat. I continued using the black bag as a trial run, and then used it as a template to cut Jasmine’s gift to form the final raincoat.
This custom-fitted raincoat only covered Sawppy’s equipment bay. To protect the rest of Sawppy, sandwich bags were placed over four corner steering motors, and a hotel shower cap was put over Sawppy’s head. Everything wrapped up nicely around Sawppy’s neck with a strip of velcro, again from [Jasmine]’s workshop. This compact arrangement was lighter and more compact than an umbrella when folded. And when deployed, Sawppy could go outdoors and romp in the rain.
UPDATE: There’s now a video of Sawppy putting on this raincoat.