Arduino Time, the Hard Way [Maker Update #28]
This week on Maker Update: telling time with a rack and pinion Arduino clock, a knitting machine you can buy, a Pi photo booth that won’t let you down, my favorite glue tool, hammerhead Pi pins, and Maker Faires.
Link to the FastCap Babe-Bot bottle featured on Cool Tools (using this link supports our show):
Project of the Week
Perpetual Clock With Arduino by JON-A-TRON
Fusion 360 Rack and Pinion Gear Rob Duarte
Kniterate Automated Knitting Machine
All Seeing Pi Photo Booth (via Adafruit)
-=-=Cool Tools Minute=-=-
FastCap Babe-Bot bottle
Maker Faire Cairo Cairo, Giza
Maker Faire Hong Kong Hong Kong
Maker Faire Miami Miami, Florida
Tri-State Mini Maker Faire Lakeville, Connecticut
Fresno Mini Maker Faire Fresno, California
Mission Creek ALT
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This week on Maker Update: rack and pinion clocks, a knitting machine you can buy, a Pi photo booth that won’t let you down, my favorite glue tool, hammerhead Pi pins, and Maker Faires.
It’s Wednesday, April 5th, I’m Donald Bell and welcome to another Maker Update. Have you had a good week? Mine has been a mixed bag, I’ve been trying to get a Makeblock XY drawing machine up and running. There was a point just days ago where I was going to back over it with my car and light it on fire, but then I finally made a breakthrough and got it moving. But holy hell that thing was a troubleshooting nightmare. Feeling good now, though. So let’s get into it, starting with the project of the week.
Check out this Arduino-powered clock by Instructables Designer Jonathan Odom (aka Jon-A-Tron). The design uses an Adafruit motor shield to drive two stepper motors, one to move a geared wooden strip that tells the hour, the other to move the strip with the minutes, which shoots back like an old typewriter at the top of the hour.
Like a good Autodesk employee, Jon designed this whole thing up in Fusion 360 and includes this gorgeous web-based model that you can check out right from the Instructable. Even if you never make this thing, you should at least check out this model to zoom in and geek out on it a little.
And to be fair, there’s a bunch of reasons you may never make this thing. Jon used just about every obscure, expensive CNC device in the Autodesk Pier 9 lab to create this, including the waterjet for the aluminum frame. Still, there’s a lot to be gleaned from this masterpiece, including a video tutorial from Rob Duarte he links to on how to create custom rack and pinion gears in Fusion 360.
Now, if you really do want to pull this project off, I see no reason why you couldn’t swap out all of the metal framework here for laser cut wood. It may not hold up as well over time, but maybe instead of a clock you go with a calendar to reduce the wear and tear.
And now for some news. This past week I saw Makezine.com post about Kniterate, an automated knitting machine that’s selling on Kickstarter for $7,500 MSRP, with an limited early backer price of $4,700 that may be gone by the time this video is out. Units are expected to ship this time next year.
The machine looks a little small in pictures, but when you see a human next to it for scale you realize that it’s a monster and can output fairly large pieces. A sweater or a dress is seemingly not a problem, though you may end up stitching some pieces together on your own. This is cool though, and another interesting new tool in the maker arsenal.
Time for one more project I really like this week. This is a Raspberry Pi-powered photobooth called the All-Seeing Pi. I found it through the Adafruit blog, and although I’ve seen a bunch of great Pi photo booths, this one has two things going for it worth mentioning.
One, it can apply some silly overlay images on your photo and tweet them out with a simple on-screen interface. It’s cute.
Two, the guide for building this project has seen a lot of time and attention from the Raspberry Pi foundation. It’s broken out into two online guides, with lots of clear pictures and code, and I suspect if you ran into trouble, the forums at raspberryPi.org will be a great resource for you. So do it.
This week, as part of a co-op sponsorship with the excellent Cool Tools blog and podcast, I’m going to try something new and give you guys a 1-minute tool review of an uncommon tool I like that I discovered by listening to Cool Tools.
This is the FastCap Babe-Bot. It is a 4-oz. glue bottle made for glue. I’ve got mine filled with wood glue. They also make a bigger 16oz. version but I find this one a little more handy. What this does is make laying down glue a much tidier and more exact process. The way it does this is that the design feeds glue up from the bottom, through a spout — sorta like a fancy tea kettle. And when you’re done squeezing out glue, you get this immediate back pressure that sucks the glue right back in the bottle, so you don’t get that messy string of glue drool. There’s also a little cap here that stays attached. The whole thing makes me feel like a glue pro, and it only costs $7. I’ve got an Amazon link in the show notes that also supports Cool Tools and this show.
A few more tips to share with you. This week I saw that Adafruit is stocking a jig for using a style of header pins on your Pi called hammerhead pins. The idea is, instead of soldering all these breakout pins to your board, you can literally hammer these in and they’ll mushroom out, sort of like a rivet, and hold in place. I thought it was a neat idea, and the whole thing is only $7, so no harm in giving it a try.
I also noticed that the official Raspberry Pi magazine, MagPi has a new issue out. #56. Like all their issues, you can download it as a free PDF. There are a bunch of great projects in here, and a great reference for getting around on the command line.
Maker Faires! You can tell it’s Maker Faire season, there are 5 this weekend including Cairo in Egypt, Hong Kong, Miami Florida, Lakeville Connecticut, and Fresno, CA.
Also, this Saturday I’ll be giving a talk and a soldering workshop for the Mission Creek Art Life Tech festival at the Iowa City Public Library. If you’re in the area, come check it out, it’s free.
And that’s it for this week’s Maker Update. A huge thanks for Cool Tools for helping me to grow and support this show. You should check out their blog and really, I can’t recommend their podcast enough. You can hear people like Adam Savage, Dale Dougherty, Danielle Applestone, and Star Simpson, all talking about their favorite tools. It’s great. Perfect for anyone who likes this show. Alright? Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next week.