Author Archives: kwartzlab

TON Talk: March 1st with Erin Kennedy aka Robot Grrl

Join us this coming Tuesday, March 1st for a special presentation! Starts at 8 pm.

 

Erin “Robot Grrl” Kennedy is currently a Studio[Y] fellow at the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto. She is an avid robot maker. Her current project is Robot Missions, which aims to enable makers and humanitarians to collaborate on improving the environment with the use of a robot platform. She participated in Fab Academy 2015 where she prototyped unfolding CubeSat robots. She launched a kit named RoboBrrd for people to learn how to build a robot character. Erin is the host of the Robot Party, a Google+ Hangout where robot builders join internationally and show the robots they are working on. She was recognized as an Intel Emerging Young Entrepreneur and won a gold medal in the RoboGames, the robot olympics.
RoboBrrd didn’t start out as the chirpy character it is today. Almost like nature, it evolved through iterations and iterations. I’ll give a history of how RoboBrrd began as a popsicle stick robot, to what it became with a lot of help from the maker community. This involved learning circuit layout, having boards made, learning CAD and laser cutting designs.

Fast forward a bit, and I’ll share the robot creatures that followed (like BotBait), the adventures had through Fab Academy  and now what I’m currently working on as a part of Robot Missions while at Studio[Y] and MaRS.If you’re a maker working on a hobby project, but can’t really envision how it could become replicated for 100 other people, this talk will be helpful to you. If you enjoy robotic creatures and seeing ways that digital fabrication can be used, this talk will be enjoyable for you.

 

Servo code

I’ve recently added a library to my arduino code that I thought was useful, so I’m sharing it with the world.
https://github.com/iplayfast/TimedServo

It allows you to move a servo at a speed slower then “as fast as possible”

It works by first calling SetAngle
void SetAngle(int newGoal, unsigned long thisTime, unsigned long goalTimeFromNow_);

which calculates the time it should take to go through each angle to the new goal.
Then periodically call Update with the current time, to see if the servo is moved.
bool Update(unsigned long currentMillSec);

It depends on the Arduino supported servo library.

Quickie laser cut snowflakes

This is a slightly different version of a post I wrote on my own site, jaymis.net, modified for the Kwartzlab crowd.

It’s that time of year! Christmas! I have put together a tutorial on how to make some quick snowflake decorations.

You will need:

First off, go to http://paulkaplan.me/SnowflakeGenerator/. Warning: this site is addictive, you may spend waaay too much time here.

Quickie laser cut snowflakes

Every line and corner between Noon and 2 o’clock has a tiny circle that allows to you bend and stretch the snowflake. Changing any of these dots and it is repeated six times overall. Play with them a while until you’ve made a snowflake you are happy with. For this activity, the only caveat you need to consider is cutting a slot to make it a 3D snowflake, and that requires a little extra material down the snowflake’s centre.

Quickie laser cut snowflakes

Click on “Save as SVG” to download the snowflake’s file to your computer.

Quickie laser cut snowflakes

Open up the downloaded snowflake file in Inkscape. It is all black. We need to change that to be just an outline to make it laser friendly.

Quickie laser cut snowflakes

Click on the snowflake and set the “Fill” to white. You are now left with just the snowflake’s outline.

Quickie laser cut snowflakes

Go to File>Document Properties. Set the default units to millimetres and add some grids and make them snappable. Millimetre units play better with laser cutters and snapping to grid makes it easy to move stuff around accurately.

Quickie laser cut snowflakes

On the bottom toolbar, click the lock to preserve the scaling, and type in the height you want it to be in mm. Height is important to the next step, use a value divisible by two to make things easier.

Quickie laser cut snowflakes

Next, draw a rectangle. It should have a black stroke and white infill (if it isn’t already the default). Click on the rectangle, and go back to the bottom toolbar. You don’t want the lock locked this time, now make the snowflake as wide as the acrylic you are cutting by typing in the thickness value into the width, in my case it was 3mm wide, and set the height to half of the snowflake’s height. This rectangle becomes the interlocking part to make the snowflake 3D.

Quickie laser cut snowflakes

Click and drag the rectangle up to the top of the snowflake and centre the top of the rectangle on the top point of the snowflake. I just eyeballed mine, since due to the size I was working with minor variations are going to be unnoticeable. If you want, you can play with the grids and snap settings (under File>Document Properties) to centre it exactly.

Quickie laser cut snowflakes

Now, select both the rectangle and the snowflake. Then, click Path>Difference.

Quickie laser cut snowflakes

And voila! You have the interlocking cut-out built right into the snowflake file!

Quickie laser cut snowflakes

Hit File>Save As and save your file. Make sure to save it as a .dxf file for use in the laser cutter.

Quickie laser cut snowflakes

Take the DXF file over to your laser cutter and cut them out!

Now you can optionally colour the snowflakes (if you want) with the permanent markers. Or you can leave them plain if you wish.

Finally, assemble the snowflakes. Match up the two interlocking rectangles, add a dab of hot glue to the middle of one to hold them together, and slide one onto the other. You’re done! Here’s one of the snowflakes made by my kids:

You can add some ribbon, and if you really want to plan ahead you could even laser cut a hole for the ribbon earlier on by adding it in Inkscape, before saving the DXF file.

DXF files work well with the Silhouette cutter. You can use the Silhouette to cut out the snowflake to make cards, add paper decorations to your tree, and many other options.

Have fun!

TON in Pictures, from Laura McBride

Former Artist in Residence, Laura McBride, dropped by the lab last night to take a few photos of some of our prep work for NightShift, the awesome art event happening Hallowe’en night in Downtown Kitchener.

NightShift founder and festival director, Eric Rumble, was also there checking out the projects…

TON in Pictures, from Laura McBride

…including Bernie and Mike’s infinite mirror.

TON in Pictures, from Laura McBride

There’s always interesting stuff going on during open night.

TON in Pictures, from Laura McBride

You can come see the works of our current Artist in Residence, Nik Harron.  Check out these amazing textures.

TON in Pictures, from Laura McBride

TON in Pictures, from Laura McBride

TON in Pictures, from Laura McBride

Be sure to come check out NightShift on October 31 to see some of our members’ amazing projects.

TON in Pictures, from Laura McBride