15th December 2006 - 01:39 PM
Can you use a larger diameter slave cylinder instead of operating multiple ones in parallel, or would the increased force from a larger surface area defeat the intent?
(I dislike the patent/I.P. system but admit I helped an employer get a patent on a plunger type solenoid I designed that uses a matching piston behind it in order to maintain a balanced force across it so very little work is necessary to drive it ... you can probably tweak the idea a bit and come up with something a bit novel. Also, if the master solenoid is electromechanical, there are many ways of increasing the efficiency. I've done some designs able to reduce power consumption by over 90% with a greatly extended life for actively controlled systems as you can avoid a lot of wear by reducing drive power once the solenoid is in motion ... and with a few tricks you can even turn a "bang-bang" system into a servo system. I've gotten switching times down to under 1mS, with a frequency response using closed loop position control over 1KHz, using basically an off-the-shelf hydraulic solenoid and for a joke at work, I played some music through a hydraulic system at work just by altering the drive circuitry for a solenoid.)
Fun stuff, though I don't believe I'll ever apply for a patent again. It's a system that allows legalized theft of ideas (not simply copying but true theft, as in an ability to deny someone using their owns thoughts). There are other ways people can sell their ideas without needing to claim sole ownership of an idea. Vested interests in physical property is something you need to protect, as it can be physically impossible for two people to share the same property without conflict, but ideas shouldn't be treated as if only one person can own it (it might sound ok on paper but it's a system that's abused way too often and I believe it's stagnating technology, at least in the U.S. It turns engineering into a virtual minefield of lawsuits and if someone has a truly novel idea, they already have a de facto monopoly on the information and can sell the idea for whatever they want without needing to ask permission from anyone to do so ... so it seems an insult to me to be expected to do research into what other patents exist or to feel obligated to ask permission to use your own thoughts and knowledge to solve some problem and in any event you still run the risk someone will claim they did that first ... being the first person to solve some problem should be enough of a reward without denying others the same opportunity)
/mode rant off