Archive for the ‘Makelangelo’ Category

Maker business update, April 2015

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

I’ve got 99 maker business problems and they’re all the good kind.

Say “Hi” in person

The 10th annual Bay Area Maker Faire is coming up and we want to kick ass!  It’s May 14-17, 2015, in San Mateo, CA.  Bring your favorite drawing from your machine, or a URL to a picture you want drawn.  We’ve requested to be at the booth next to PancakeBot, so just follow the smell of syrup.  We plan to be ready to same-day drop ship kits from our warehouse in Canada.  If you buy online when you see our booth, you can expect a tracking number in your email before you leave the event.

I’ve also received an offer to attend GEEK PICNIC in St. Petersburg and Moscow.  I’ve never been to Russia, and it sounds really exciting.  More news on that one as it develops.

1000 Makelangelos!

We’re up to 926 Makelangelos as of 2015-04-07 1:15 PM PST.  How long until we hit 4 digits?  I’m tempted to graph the rate at which new Makelangelos come online.  I’ve also assured the robot army that they can have the Earth – Just give me the moon and I’ll be happy.

Bill of Materials Update

Around here word-of-mouth knowledge is taboo.  One of the worst is “what is a [SKU-NUMBER]?”  To eliminate this problem, the bill of material in every kit going forward will look more like this:

april 2014 bomA picture for every part is easier for working in the warehouse and for you at home.  The QR code and the URL at the top of the page point back to the web page with all the information.

Now if only I had a lightbox big enough to take a beautiful picture of the entire Arduino Starter Kit.

Makelangelo Hardware Update

ROBO-0034 controller mount

I’m updating the Makelangelo 2.5 controller mount to stick on windows and whiteboards.  It still attaches just fine to a board with a nail or a piece of double sided tape.  I tried putting a vinyl sticker behind the suction cups.  The suction force was so strong it peeled the stickers off the wood board!  I plan to do the same thing for the Makelangelo 3 and I’m thinking really hard about a clear plastic cover that protects the electronics.


ROBO-0032 motor mount

The motor mounts for the Makelangelo 3 and Makelangelo 2.5 are being updated.  A limited number of kits have been trialled locally and I’m testing the assembly documentation tonight.  The new model can be used to make either the left version (for glass/whiteboard) or right version (for an easle/wood board). The new version is lighter, quieter, has less different parts, and doesn’t require any glue.  I can put each together in 6 minutes.  Each can be completely disassembled so they can be done in a class room time and time again.

I still recommend a 3’x4′ (A0) drawing area which can draw up to 2’x3′ (A1), maybe more.  See paper ‘A’ sizes for help planning your drawings.


I find the number of dots to connect grows longer and longer.  I’m glad my private wiki has step-by-steps for everything or I would be in biiiig trouble.  For example, those two Makelangelo changes I just mentioned?  I have to assemble at least two kits just to be sure the updated Bill of Materials is correct.  On the plus side, I get my how-to photos for free and I find everything that could go wrong.  “Is there a better way to do this?  Do you see any mistake in my plan?” are the two questions I ask most these days.

It would be a huge help to me if you would join our forums and help each other out.  As the number of users goes up my time-per-user goes down and that’s … an opportunity to make new friends!  All my closest friends are makers.

Right now with the product update the Makelangelos are low in stock and I’m looking for every possible method to make the same kits faster to keep up with demand and anticipated demand.  I’m more than a little envious of Miguel’s PancakeBot: he’s got a 3rd party to make all the machines so he can spend the last three days of the PancakeBot Kickstarter celebrating >800% goal reached.


I love your pull requests!  Thanks to Peter C over at MakeHartford we are now running our Eclipse project on Apache Maven.  That means you can download from github and click “update project” in Eclipse to automatically get everything you need to compile and run.  It’s never been easier to hack on the code.

I’ve also updated the graphics engine to run on OpenGL hardware accelerated graphics through the Jogamp library.  That means the software should react faster to your commands.  It also brings me closer to having one ring app for all my robots.

If your Eclipse doesn’t have Maven, download the latest!  My 2 year old copy didn’t have it and help > check for updates didn’t install it automatically.

This Blog

I pledged to myself at the start of the year to post every work day.  That’s completely fallen apart because I’ve been so busy.  I’ve been running Marginally Clever as a single person business for a couple of years and now Marginally Clever is moving up to the next level.  It’s a completely different way of thinking and growing into it is really challenging.  I wonder if it will ever stop being a challenge, or if “off balance from acceleration” is the new normal?

Thank you

Please keep sending in those pull requests and feedback.  I thrive on any idea that helps me do my job better and your contributions are the highlight of my day.  I have never received useless feedback.  Challenge accepted?  Ruh roh.

Also to those of you who are telling your friends about MC?  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  Your happiness is making us all successful.  Together we are going to keep doing amazing things.

Makelangelo Timelapse Video

Friday, March 13th, 2015

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

Makelab at DX3 Toronto

Thursday, 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.

See a Transparent Makelangelo at DX3 in Toronto

Tuesday, 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. (more…)

Thoughts on Improving the Makelangelo Pen Holder

Monday, 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. (more…)

How much belt does a Makelangelo need?

Friday, 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: (more…)

Makelangelo+AMS2 speed boost

Thursday, March 5th, 2015

Did you build a Makelangelo 2.5 with an Adatruit Motor Shield v2? Here’s a trick I found today that’ll give you a 4x speed boost.

What are your thoughts on Licensing and Scaling

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Makelangelos are a success and I wonder if licensing is the way to grow so I can hire staff and afford all the R&D I’m putting into my super weapon other projects. I’m giving the question due consideration and I’d love your feedback in the comments below.

How to Add Your Own Style to the Makelangelo

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

This post is about how to modify the open source code for the Makelangelo and bend it to your will. I hope to teach you how to create new styles of drawing for the Makelangelo so that you can make it more artsy or more funny or … well, whatever you want to do with it, right? Right.

Warning! This post… this post is for the ambitious among you. It’s not easy, but like they say: nothing worth doing is easy. (more…)

Makelangelo with a Raspberry Pi

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Makelangelo 3

The Makelangelo on Github has just received (and accepted) it’s first pull request to add Raspberry Pi support to the Makelangelo. Everybody please give Chris Mills some love in the forums.

For now it’s developers-only, so if you want in on the action you’ll have to start coding.