Maker Faire Bay Area 2015!!!

Join me at Maker Faire 2015!!!

Join me at Maker Faire 2015!!!

Maker Faire Bay Area 2015 is just a few days away!  I hope you’re as excited as I am!

I’ve made some minor improvements to my large drawing robot and am going to bring a tiny drawing robot as well.  The changes to the big drawing robot are:

  1. “Feet” for Underside of Project Box
    1. My robot is built into a shallow wooden box.  On the top of that wooden box there is a “holder” for a roll of paper.  By adding little “feet,” as short as 1/8 inch or so, to the underside of the project box, the box no longer pushes against the roll of paper – which makes it easier to pull paper down when drawing.
  2. Revisions to Paper Roll Holder
    1. As it is, the paper roll holder is a little close to the project box, so the paper sometimes bumps against it.  This isn’t much of a problem, but one that can be eliminated easily.
    2. A notch in the top of the paper roll holder.  This way, rather than having to dismantle the robot, I can just lift the old paper roll out and drop in a new one.
  3. Batteries for Pen Holder
    1. The pen holder uses AA batteries, not for power, but for dead weight.  Right now the batteries are held in place by hot glue.  I would rather there was a slot on the holder for actually holding the batteries.

And, for those of you interested in seeing more of my TinyCNC, I’ll be bringing that too!  I’ve been working on a little something there as well.  Here’s what I’ve done:

  1. Mounted TinyCNC
    1. On a cigar box!  The TinyCNC is bolted to the top of a cigar box kindly donated by a local smoke shop.  A small solderless breadboard and Arduino now live inside the cigar box as well.
  2. Trying out New Interface
    1. I tried using the TinyCNC at first with an Arduino, feeding it Gcode-like commands over the serial interface.  Then I tried saving designs as coordinates and flashing an Adafruit Trinket with the coordinates and drawing that.  Since the Trinket doesn’t have a serial connection, this meant I lost a lot of the functionality of the tiny robot.
    2. This time I’m using a membrane 3×4 matrixed keypad to control the robot.  The keypad is also mounted to the cigar box.
  3. Trying out New Code
    1. I can get the Arduino to recognize keypresses reliably, but I can’t get the ‘bot to move in response… yet.  🙂  Heck, I still have almost 36 hours until showtime, which is plenty of time.  So far, it does absolutely nothing at all – except shudder.  I’m not that worried about it though, I can always go back to an older version of the Arduino sketch.

As far as actually showing a working demonstration of the TinyCNC, I have a few ideas.  Here’s what I’d like to show off, in descending order:

  1. Tiny robot, controlled by a numeric keypad, letting people draw on pieces of paper and take them home.
  2. Tiny robot, with several pre-programmed designs, letting people hit a number on a keypad, having it draw a pre-programmed design, and taking the piece of paper home.
  3. Tiny robot with a single push button mounted on box, which draws a single pre-programmed design when pressed, people take the piece of paper home.
  4. Tiny robot, connected to my laptop, drawing things sent from the laptop, and let people take a piece of paper with the drawing home.

What will be ready by Friday afternoon?  I have no idea!!!  You can either stop by and see for yourself or tune in on Monday night when I post a recap of the weekend.

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