Building your own solenoid engine

March 20th, 2015

I’m leaving for a week in Mexico starting tomorrow morning, so I don’t have a lot of time to write a blog post today.
Instead, here’s a random Internet Find of the Week: How to build your own solenoid engine.

Stewart Platform Progress, 2015-03-18

March 18th, 2015

Stewart Platform 2015-03-18 13.37.57

I only had an hour today to work on software, so I started adding the menu items on the right hand side. It’s worth looking at how programs develop to see how other coders think. Read the rest of this entry »

PancakeBot used GcodeCNCDemo

March 17th, 2015


Miguel Valenzuela started building a pancake robot four years ago and now (right now!) his PancakeBot Kickstarter is a huge success. As of now it looks like they’ll hit 400% funded in a few hours. I asked Mr. Valenzuela a few questions about his creative process. Read the rest of this entry »

Makelangelo Timelapse Video

March 13th, 2015

Jenelle sent in a timelapse video of her Makelangelo drawing the Makelab logo. Nice!

Makelab at DX3 Toronto

March 12th, 2015

Jenelle at Makelab made this timelapse of her Makelangelo drawing a DXF of the Makelab logo while at the DX3 conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in March of 2015.

Stewart Platform Simulator Progress

March 12th, 2015

I’ve got good news for everyone who bought a Stewart Platform v2: a 3D simulator is on the way.

After 6 months of trying, I finally got OpenGL and Java menus/buttons playing nicely together thanks to the good people at Jogamp.  I plan to update all my robots to use the technology.  The easiest place to start is with a program that doesn’t exist yet, rather than force several old programs into the new paradigm.  That means the Stewart Platform gets some love first.

In the view above, I’ve got STL model parts of each file loading and positioned correctly and some lighting effects.  The next step is to add the Inverse Kinematics into the simulation so I can click context-sensitive controls on the right and get matching movement on the left, a lot like the Makelangelo software.  Then I plan to connect the software to the robot so that both are running at once.  Finally, recording a movement while not connected, then connecting and playing it back.

The same program could be used to drive a robot by remote control, which we’ll need to build my moon base.

In the mid term, I want all my robots running from this One Ring program.  By clicking on a robot you’ll get a different context sensitive menu.  There may also be some way to get them to message each other.  That way I hope to build relatively inexpensive assembly lines.  If my 3D printer can tell my robot arm that it’s finished then the arm can take the plate (and the print stuck on top) out of the printer.  One step closer to self-assembling machines!

Tomorrow I’ll post an update on my progress with this program.

March Break Vacation 2015!

March 11th, 2015

I’m taking a well deserved vacation from March 21 to March 28, 2015. This is a great opportunity to test if my store will run even when I’m not in the building. I’ll have a few personal assistants trained in the various systems filling orders and shipping kits. The only difference you’ll see is the signature on the emails. If you’d prefer the personal touch by the man in charge, get your orders in before March 19.

I’m thinking about taking a drone with me and filming on the beach. Maybe the hotel needs new pictures and will buy the footage? Maybe I should stop thinking and start paying attention to the drink menu.


In other news, PancakeBot has been successfully funded.  I met Miguel Valenzuela at the Bay Area Maker fair last year and helped a bit with the software.  I’m pretty sure most of the logic is based on the GCodeCNCDemo, with some extra features for batter flow control and grill temperature.  Should I get Miguel to make a guest post and talk about how it’s done?

See a Transparent Makelangelo at DX3 in Toronto

March 10th, 2015

Jenelle DX3 Conference Makelangelo

Jenelle emailed me a set of pictures from the Dx3 Conference in Toronto, Canada. DX3 is all about digital marketing and retail and runs for only two days, March 11 & 12, 2015. What better way to advertise your business than a Makelangelo in the window, or a long exposure light painting? More pictures after the break. Read the rest of this entry »

Thoughts on Improving the Makelangelo Pen Holder

March 9th, 2015

Makelangelo 3 pen holder

I’ve removed nearly all the contentious parts from the Makelangelo and now I’d like your help to finish a new pen holder. Here are some of the challenges I’m facing. Read the rest of this entry »

How much belt does a Makelangelo need?

March 6th, 2015

Jenelle wrote in on the live chat to ask: “Where is the bottom of the machine? is it the bottom of the board?”

The machine height and machine width affect your belt length, but your belt length also affects the machine height. It works like this: Read the rest of this entry »