Austin gave me this video of my interactive LED diversion being interacted with.
There are a lot of cool Arduino projects floating around Eugene Maker Space. You can do a lot in a hurry with an Arduino, and programming is so easy it almost feels like cheating! Here are a couple simple projects I’ve done.
I had less than a day to design and build this prototype from scratch and fly to California to demo it. Normally I would design and build up a custom board, program a micro in assembly, make a 3D model of the mechanical design, and machine a custom case. None of that was an option, so I rushed out and picked up an Arduino from Radio Shack and decent looking junction box from Home Depot. Even having never used an Arduino before, within a few hours I had a completed product. A few LED’s and an ink jet printed face plate and the result was remarkably professional. Unfortunately due to the commercial nature of this, I can’t show too much of the final result.
This application is a perfect fit for an Arduino. There are 4 LED’s that flash and fade to give user feedback. There is a button input, as well as a light sensor. An op amp and trim pot are used to amplify the output of the photocell. There is also a relay to switch a line voltage device. This is soldered together on a proto shield sitting on top of an Arduino Uno and powered by a 9 volt battery.
Here is another example project. This is an Arduino Mega 2560, which has a lot more I/O and memory than the Uno. Connected to it is an 16×2 LCD display from Adafruit. What is notable about this display is it has an RGB backlight, meaning you can change the color to anything you want, including fading from one color to another. This is also a ‘negative’ display, so the characters light up instead of the background.
Today I worked on my laser cutter project. I built the top cover and installed it along with a stop and a switch, then I fabricated a plate for the electronics.
I haven’t posted here about the laser cutter in quite a while.
It’s coming along. I’m nearly done with the mechanical assembly and ready to start on wiring and electronics. The gantry, the movable beam in the center of the picture, is installed. The laser carriage, which rides on the gantry, is also installed. The table has been installed for a while, though I’m going to replace the plastic eggcrate table surface with an aluminum eggcrate.
Continue reading Bob’s laser cutter project
I have been writing Arduino software to drive a stepper motor. I am planning to grow this into a complete control program for the laser cutter I’ve been building. Today I got some interesting things working, and I made some videos and uploaded them to Youtube.
Recently some EMS members have been learning to weld. Unfortunately, the shop hasn’t been very welder-friendly. We have the one welder but we really didn’t have a good place to weld. The only place we are able to plug in the welder is in the far back corner of the shop, and the only surfaces we really have to weld on back there are the concrete floor or the wooden workbench. Neither of those are very good options. Another problem was that we didn’t have a good way to protect other members from being flashed from the welding arc. We had no safety screen. And still a third problem was that we had all of our welding gear separated into a few areas of the shop, so there was never a good way of knowing just what exactly we had or where it all was. Well, fret no longer!
After visiting HeatSync Labs in Arizona a couple of weeks ago and seeing their awesome welding booth, it really got me motivated to make something in our shop that would enable our members to weld more easily, and more safely. The problem was making welding readily accessible but not taking up too much space in our already crowded shop. After some thought and planning, I managed to cobble something together that I hope will work out well. I mounted a custom curtain rod in the corner of the shop near the 240V power outlet and stuck two 6′ x 8′ welding curtains on it. Now we should have enough room to store all of our welding gear in or near this small 6′ x 5′ square and be able to weld simply by pulling back the welding curtains and securing them shut. The curtains also allow us to keep that large square open when the booth is not in use. This way, the welding booth doesn’t take up a large square of the shop at all times.
The welding booth is not yet completed, but I hope to have it mostly completed by Friday night, before the big open house on Saturday. I still need to do the following:
- We should be getting a decent welding table tomorrow to put in the booth (Donated!). Now we will have a surface to weld on!
- Move the welder into the booth wherever it makes sense.
- Put some adhesive Velcro on the curtains so we can attach them together easily and quickly.
- Cut the white shelf on the wall so the curtain can close all the way to the wall.
- Replace the zip ties with actual curtain rings.
- Install some kind of ventilation to get the fumes moving out of the shop.
- Put up some signage about general usage and safety in the welding area.
I’m sure there is more to be done than just that, but those are the top priorities for now. I hope this booth will work out well for everyone. It shouldn’t take up much space when not in use but it should provide easy access to the welding equipment whenever one has that urge to fuse metal together.
A few EMS members have been working on entries for the Star Wars Uncut: The Empire Strikes Back project. This is a project where the entire “Empire Strikes Back” movie is split into many 15 second chunks. Anyone is welcome to sign up for one of the 15 second pieces. That person’s job is to then re-create that 15 second scene in their own way. All of the clips are later put back together to form a full length feature film. Ben recently posted his entry to the film. Can you figure out what scene this is?
Labor Day traditionally denotes the end of summer. Kids head back to school, clothing stores start displaying long sleeves and jackets, and makers start their big winter projects.
This winter, I have the audacity to presume that I can build a CNC laser cutter.
I will be basing my design on the Buildlog.net 2.x Laser. I will be following the 2.x plan very closely for the mechanical design, but will deviate in the electronics and software.
There is no kit for the 2.x laser cutter, so my first tasks have been to find sources for the roughly 180 components needed and place orders with the respective vendors.
I actually started ordering parts on August 3rd, and I have received a few parts. And there are many more coming.
So while I wait, here are some pictures of the parts that are already here.
Here are the stepper motors. They are NEMA 17 with double ended shafts. Don’t they look good in their black paint? They came from Automation Technology. Actually, I think they might be the wrong parts — I need motors with 5mm shafts, and these have ¼ inch shafts. If the very first parts are wrong, what are the odds that I’ll actually finish this project? (-:
And here are some couplers, made to order by dumpsterCNC in Delrin™. They couple ¼ inch shafts to 5mm motor shafts. (Too bad I don’t have 5mm motor shafts.)
Fellow laser builder Radishworks put together a bag of small parts. He had to buy all these in quantity 50 or more, so he had lots of extras, which he resold. I got one.
Makerslide. I got two 1200mm lengths (47 inches). It is an ordinary 20x40mm aluminum extrusion, except it has V shaped ridges on two of the corners. (I might have overdone the artistic depth of field thing on this photo. Must use f-stops only for good.)
These are dual-bearing V wheels. The wheels ride on the ridges on the Makerslide. They are Delrin™. The bearings fit inside. The washers are sandwiched between the bearings. They keep the bearings separated and add rigidity, I think.
Those little nut things are eccentric spacers. The inner hole is off center. Put the nut’s cylindrical flange into a hole, put a shaft through the center hole, and then rotate the nut to adjust the shaft’s position. These will be used to make the V wheels fit snugly against the Makerslide. The Makerslide, V wheels, and eccentrics all came from Inventables.
VXB sent me some bearings. They came in patriotic packaging. They are also quite overpackaged: bearing in bag in box in bag with other bearings in envelope. It’s the American Way.
I also got a whole pile of random fasteners and hardware from McMaster Carr. The big metal flange in the center will attach the vent hose to the cabinet. I got the oversize drawings printed at FedEx Office.
Lots more parts are coming. I have confirmed shipping on aluminum extrusion, more fasteners, more V wheels, some drive belts and pulleys, and the optics (mirrors, lens, and bracketry). I have no firm delivery date on cable carriers, microcontrollers, stepper drivers, or a Raspberry Pi.
Finally, here’s Riley, the project manager. He disavows any knowledge of how that table leg got chewed. (Truthfully. He did it in 2009, and has completely forgotten about it.)