Help Me O Plc Gurus Of Wisdom

Hi Guys I Think This Would Be a Good Place To Get Some Info. I Am A Final Year Student In Ireland Studying Control And Automation
Engineering,
For My Final Year Project (Quite A Substantial Percentage Of My Degree) I Have To Make A Demo Piece With A Plc.
Basically Its Going To Be A System That Pushes A Plc To Its Limits, I Have A Big Bucket Of Parts At My Disposal That Was Salvaged From An Old IBM Disc Platter Machine. Everything From Pneumatics To Hydraulics And More Servos And Stepper Motors Than You Could Shake A Stick At. (Irish Expression That Means ALOT).
The System Is Going To Be Used As An Educational Tool For Up And Coming Control Engineers As Well As An Exhibit Piece For The University Open Days.
I Was Thinking Of Doing A Kind Of "Mousetrap" (If You Know The Board Game) Type Of Thing With A Ping Pong Ball Moving Around Various Levels Of A Course With Sensors, Actuators And Pneumatics Moving It And Even Levatating It At Points. Basically I Want To Get Almost A Domino Effect With A Ball Completing the Course And Being Reset, Using Conveyors, Motors Kickers And Anything Else I Can Get My Hands On.
Im Having A Bit Of Trouble With Ideas And This Is Where I Consult The Plc Gurus (you).
The Rig Should Be Educational, Spectacular To Look At And Fun For The Open Day.
Does Anybody Know Of Any Existing Similar Setups? Or Anywhere Online I Could See Some Photos Of Them.
Failing That Any Ideas Would Be Greatly Appriciated,
Thanks For Your Time.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

One thought:
The domino effect does not need much of a PLC, since it is a cascade of events based on stored energy. Think more in terms of each event being a choice of two (or more) possibilities, with the PLC making the decision (based on arbitrary rules) of which choice is made at each decision point that might include the observer in the decision making. This provides for a less repetitive, more interesting range of possibilities. More of a pinball game than falling dominoes.
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Thanks john, thats a much better idea than what i was going to do, the original idea i had involved pretty much the whole rig running off code by itself in a loop but your right, where's the fun in that?
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On 2 Dec 2005 08:59:31 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

It's good to see that you are able to write without capitalazing every word ;)
Tom
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OLD HABIT lol anybody else got any ideas? ill even give you credit and you could be immortised in some university youve prob never heard of :-)
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Check out the Rube Goldberg contest at Purdue Uns. in IN, USA
http://news.uns.purdue.edu/UNS/rube/rube.index.html
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&hs=hFY&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&q=Rube+Goldberg+contest+at+Purdue&spell=1
wrote:

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A cautionary note.... don't underestimate how much time and effort it can take when you think big. You might want to prototype a few things and see how long it takes you, then maybe rework your plans based on the time you have available. Good luck

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Now that is good advice that goes with the topic "Gurus of Wisdom". Since the most any system takes at least 2x expected time to design, develop, test, finalize, document as built.
Keep it simple, it will get complex on it's own <wink>
Carl
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Thanks guys
yea i think you're right the scale of this thing is really hitting home but i have a bit of time to refine the concept, the official start date is towards the end of jan but ive got alot of exams between now and then. The total project time is going to be about 10 weeks so its going to be fairly hectec, i might have a lab technician to help me with parts of the concept and built though, so that should help a bit.
Also has anybody heard of a company called "Feedback" or "Feedback Systems" ? It was vaguely suggested to me by somebody but trying to find it online ....... well lets just say needle and haystack.
Thanks for all the feedback and suggestions guys, there really useful, keep em coming.
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Carl wrote:

The rule of thumb for time estimating I use is, "multiply by two and go to the next higher unit." For example, if 4 hours seems how long something should take, figure 8 days. I something seems like a 2 day task, figure 4 weeks. :-)
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You know what guys? i posted this thread in about 15 different groups and this is the only one where i got any response, thanks again and keep the ideas comming :-)
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