I did a solo roadtrip from San Francisco to Portland so I can view the 2017 total solar eclipse with my friends in Salem!
Of course, I had to nerd it up a notch
This is the next step in my mission to make my car function 7 years newer and feel like a jet cockpit.
(click here if the above video isn’t loading)
I wanted a HUD, Heads Up Display to my car. The main purpose is to let me keep my eyes on the road and still be aware of my speed without looking down, hence “heads up”. This idea has been used in fighter jets for decades now.
I do not like any of the other ones on the market today, they all try to do “too much”. I wanted something more simple and elegant.
My design is a simple RGB capable individually controllable LED strip that reflect off my windshield.
I used the “DotStar” from Adafruit Industries, which uses APA102 LEDs. The brain is a Teensy 3.2, which is connected to my car’s CAN bus via a OBD-II connector (the diagnostic port that you can read the engine computer from).
It is programmed to have three different modes: voltmeter, tachometer, and speedometer. The mode switching is “context aware”: When the car is moving, the mode changes to speedometer. If I rev the engine Continue reading
My 2018 competitor, with a titanium horizontal blade from FingerTech Robotics. I felt like rebuilding a drum spinner twice is too boring so gotta change up the weapon choice every year. Currently a work-in-progress.
Designed as a replacement for Shrapnelly. Shrapnelly is almost impossible to repair, so Hells Bells is designed with a 3D printed nylon-CF body and totally off-the-shelf electronics. Currently a work-in-progress.
We did it, we said we were going to win and we did. We built something so technologically beautiful that Elon Musk himself crowned it the most innovative of them all.
I’m involved in the rLoop team, we are building a 1/3 scale Hyperloop Pod for the competition hosted by SpaceX. Learn more about it here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-build-rloop-s-pod-for-spacex-hyperloop-comp
This is my first ever combat robot! 454 grams (1 lb American Antweight class). It has a spinning drum weapon.Body is made of Garolite, with titanium skirts mounted on hinges (parts are cut on my Nomad 883 Pro, and some 3D printing). The drum weapon is CNC lathed aluminum with a brushless motor inside. The electronics is all custom built, utilizing the 802.15.4 radio integrated in the ATmega256RFR2.
Want more details? Continue reading
Yea so I had no choice but to start my car with a screwdriver (continue reading)
This year is a little underwhelming than last year, perhaps its because last year was my first time, and this year is my second time. There are many things that simply remained unchanged, or just slightly improved. Here’s a list of what I found interesting: (continue reading)
If you owned any good laptops, you might have a charger that had a curved shape, and/or a strap to help you wrap the cord. Well… The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 is an amazing computer but it’s charger doesn’t even have a strap. So I’ve decided to solve this problem with 3D printing.
The filament I used is actually black 3mm polyurethane filament, which is both strong and flexible. Printed using my Ultimaker2, upgraded with a Flex3Drive, at 250 degrees C, layer height of 0.2mm, and 200% extrusion.
Funny that the strap would’ve been too long to be printed straight, that’s why I made it squiggly.
The model file is shared as a public model on Onshape here. Go ahead and download it, or even copy it to your own account to make modifications.
I got a new Nomad 883 Pro and it generates a lot of dust. This is going to be a big problem as I need to cut material that have hazardous fibers. I decided to make a dust skirt (aka vacuum skirt or vacuum shoe or vacuum head) so that a vacuum can suck up dust as the machine cuts. I 3D printed this thing, which is partly PLA plastic, and the skirt is 3D printed TPU (polyurethane) filament. The skirt is two layered and the cuts are made in a interleaved pattern so there’s a better seal. 3D printing makes this project really easy, just clean up the print, superglue, and tap the hole for the screw. The vacuum hose is 1.25 inch diameter and it just shoves right in with a perfect fit.
The CAD files can be downloaded here
After getting comfortable with 3D printing, I decided I want to dabble with in-home CNC machines. I decided that I need something powerful enough to cut aluminum, but also precise enough to handle PCBs, and is enclosed so I can keep it in a home environment. I absolutely did not want a machine that’s designed to fit an ordinary router or Dremel. The Nomad 883 by Carbide 3D fit these requirements (link to specs).
I also really wanted to see the machine before I buy. I saw Othermill at RoboGames 2015, and while it seemed nice, it was geared more towards PCB milling. Another choice would’ve been Carvey but it is a Kickstarter that hasn’t started shipping yet. I saw Nomad 883 at the SF Maker Faire 2015, and it really impressed me, perhaps because it was built with all metal structure. The guy at the Nomad booth also hinted that I can cut steel on the next revision of the Nomad 883 (sorry I forgot his name). I picked Nomad 883 because it was more powerful and bigger than Othermill, while smaller than Carvey, and I would get it in around late August.
Long story, but I ended up getting the Nomad 883 Pro version around early November. Keep reading to see more pictures and my first impressions.
I have a project that involves Micro Match connectors. They are similar to IDC connectors, but with a lower profile and a zig-zag pattern.
I had to crimp one connector onto a ribbon cable, my first attempt using a vice failed miserably, instead of the conductors being forced into the teeth properly, the forces instead crushed the connector. Unlike a IDC connector, which is mostly solid plastic, the Micro Match connectors are pretty hollow, thus weaker.
Continue reading to see how I solved this problem.
I 3D printed a very durable peristaltic pump. It is capable of pumping very thick liquids at as much pressure as the tube can handle. It is durable because it is printed at 100% infill at high thicknesses and uses steel ball bearings. It is capable of such strength because it is using a massive 12V DC brushed motor that has a 150:1 gear ratio metal gear box, which means several kilograms of torque.
For design files and more details, please continue reading.
I got a Parrot Rolling Spider for fun. The batteries are 570mAH and the life is under 10 minutes, plus the reviews often mention that the batteries will lose their capacity quickly. Further research into this problem indicated that charging them slowly will alleviate this problem.
I wanted a few spare batteries and a way to recharge them. I decided to DIY a dock for them. I had a handful of spare parts, such as the MCP73831 and plenty of small perfboards. All I needed to do was 3D print something to hold the batteries in place, and this is what I came up with.
More pictures if you continue reading.
Well… I was originally going to use a dummy grenade instead, but I didn’t want to get shot when I get pulled over, or get the bomb squad in my car when I’m parked.
A brief explanation of why corners of large 100% infill solids lift off the print bed during 3D printing, and my way of solving the problem.
In my quest to have the best Ultimaker 2 possible, I have installed a Flex3Drive kit and Olsson Block kit.
Recently I have been having issues with inter-layer adhesion. I tried a speed test and would consistently fail them, either due to jamming or inter-layer splits… This is a story of how somebody more experienced in electrical and software engineering tackles a thermodynamics problem.
Bonus: this article contains a picture of my extra power 400W supply for the Ultimaker 2
After around 100 hours of printing, the teflon coupler above the nozzle of my Ultimaker2 started to deform under heat, causing friction on the filament. Combined with the relatively weak and not-gear-reduced feeder motor, this resulted in a frustrating amount of underextrusion.
So I decided to buy some replacement parts, and some upgrade parts in the process. Obviously I ordered a replacement teflon coupler. Second, I ordered a Flex3Drive kit. Third, I ordered a Olsson Block. After all of these were installed, I can honestly say my printer is now print-and-forget. In 30 hours and 5 filament swaps, I haven’t had any imperfections at all, and the only failed print was due to bad bed adhesion due to the model curling up. I haven’t had to touch the tuning menu once, and I never had to use my extruder floss. Continue reading to learn more about these upgrades and my experience with them. Continue reading
I went to spectate RoboGames 2015. If you didn’t go, WHY THE HELL NOT?!
I live literally a 10 minute walk away so I went both Saturday and Sunday. Since I walked in, I accidentally walked through the back entrance, so I snuck into the pits without a badge 😀 but I did still pay for a ticket after. I got some pictures in the pits, not stuff I see every day.
I put together a highlights video. Actually probably only missed Friday, and missed 4 matches from Saturday and Sunday, I have about 20 GB of video… I’m putting a few up just as teasers but you should really come check out RoboGames next time or buy their DVD when they release it.
The combat is the only event where I could get good video without raising my arms. There were a ton of other competitions, like minisumo, line following, humanoids, soccer, hockey, etc. It really reminds me of the Canadian National Robot Games back in 2007, which I entered as a highschool student. The Canadian competition has long since been cancelled but it’s amazing how alive the Silicon Valley competition is.
Continue reading for more videos and pictures
For various reasons, I decided to try writing a SD card bootloader for my Ultimaker2.
The project is open source and on my GitHub here.
My goal was to install this new bootloader without having physical access to the circuitry. Thus I cannot use a ISP tool and must be done through the bootloader that is already present on the Ultimaker2. The only way to do this is to partition off a portion of application memory region for a secondary bootloader that executes after the original bootloader. But the ATmega2560 has a restriction that prevents anything in the application memory region from modifying the flash memory at all. Overcoming this restriction is what this hack is all about, continue reading if you are interested in learning more.
You want files? Click Here. I hosted the files on YouMagine, and I provided the STEP file format, which you should be able to open with most 3D modeling software. So if you want to change the design for 3.5″ drives, or chose another cartridge shape, you can!
NOTE: the dimensions of the fake NES cartridge I used are not the same dimensions as genuine NES cartridges, so genuine cartridges will not fit in this project, and the fake cartridges will not fit inside a genuine NES deck.
I will talk about 3D modelling software that I have tried, and point to this page whenever somebody asks for this info. Comments are extremely welcome.
This is an upgrade to the Ultimaker2 3D printer for people who have spools that do not fit the original spool holder, and spools that are too tight and thus do not feed smoothly, causing under-extrusion.
It is composed of two assemblies: a replacement for the filament guide and a replacement for the spool holder. Both utilizes ordinary skateboard bearings to achieve smooth rotation. The conical shape of the spool holder allows for any sized spool to be used, easily swapped because it uses a wing nut.
Files are available on YouMagine. I want to emphasize that I am sharing the STEP files, not just STL, because STL are harder for people to import and modify than STEP files. SolidWorks files are also provided.
The cross section images shows you how to assemble the upgrade parts. The screw diameters are #6 for the filament guide and 5/16″ for the spool holder. Please figure everything else out from the cross section images.
You should probably go to other tech websites for all the details but I’m using my own blog to jot down my thoughts. (I will update this post with each passing day of CES 2015) Continue reading