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Jigsolve: Solenoid release valve added; Kickstarter help, please?

Second challenge, the pump is not letting go just like my ex even though I run it in reverse.  I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong there, it’s probably a software mistake.

Fixed!  The pump can’t run in reverse, so I bought a normally-closed solenoid air valve from

The first time we tried to fire the solenoid was directly from the AMS1 shield motor connection #3, which killed the Arduino.  It no longer gives a USB device descriptor.  The solenoid says it runs at 12v1.67a and the AMS1 shield says it can handle peak 2a, so not sure what happened.

The AMS1 shield has a servo connection on pins 9 and 10.  Rather than using it for PWM, we send the pin 10 signal to a breakout relay which fires the solenoid for ~1000ms and lets enough air into the system to release the piece being held.

So now we can testably lift, move, rotate, and drop pieces from Twitch.  I’d say we’re ready to give this a go.  Now for the really challenging part: building a successful kickstarter campaign.  Help?

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Jigsolve: Twitch streaming is live!

Congratulations to Instagram user DavoDD_ for being the first person to drive the Jigsolve robot through Twitch.

Special thanks to Twitch Developers Canary and BarryCarlyon for help with broadcasting software setup.

Apparently the solution is to stream the pi cam to the LAN, watch the feed with VLC, and then use OBS to screen scrape the image and send it to Twitch.  The lag is awful – 2 seconds or more! – but it works.  Maybe Twitch Dev or raspi experts can tell me how to shorten that delay.  please please pretty please

Second challenge, the pump is not letting go just like my ex even though I run it in reverse.  I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong there, it’s probably a software mistake.

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Jigsolve: It works!

​the jigsolve robot works!

This morning I tested movements against software limits, the picking, the placing, all through the irc bot. I then spent three hours trying to configure my (&/#*\+~€{! Routers to let the camera video out to the internet.

Above is a quick vid I shot just before I started the testing.

The networking issue is actually moot and I should let it go. I need to integrate the twitch API and get the Kickstarter video done. Once the machine moves to its temp home wherever it’s running for the duration of the game I’ll have all new networking …fun.

Wow! Writing a log on my phone is painful. Seriously, hackaday, get your shit together.

Like these posts?  Tell your friends about  Selling electronic parts keeps me building weird stuff like this.  Thanks!

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Jigsolve: IRC bot rewrite; monetization; assembly photos

Since the last update

I fought a hell of a long time with my DIY Prusa i3. Nothing sticks to any bed, and I blame the nozzle. I’ve ordered two new Prusa i3s from Prusa himself, so fingers crossed that’ll go better.

Meanwhile, back at the farm

While we wait for delivery I’ve been using the Tinkerine printer at the Vancouver Hack Space to print parts from my design.

and I’ve attached the Raspberry Pi B to the side of the X-Carve collet. I’ve also modelled a place to attach the air pump.

The Pi camera talks to the pi which Wifi’s back to the PC 3 feet away. The PC runs a Java IRC bot which listens to user commands and then translates them into GRBL, the firmware running on the X-Carve.

Either the PC or the Pi will upload the camera image to the internet – I’m not sure which yet, but Pi would be more straightforward. I wonder about bandwidth. There is a separate special PCB that runs the stepper driver to rotate pieces when they are picked up and turn on the air pump. This PCB could not be connected to the X-Carve directly with ease. I could reuse some of the extra connections on the back of the X-Carve (coolant system?) but that makes me uncomfortable.


At some point this robot has got to start paying for itself. I considered banner ads on the video feed, corporate sponsors, and a few other options. All of them seemed like a lot of long term work. I want to turn this on, scatter the jigsaw pieces, and then walk away. So instead I’m taking a page from and to sell off the squares under the jigsolve. There are 75×75 1cm squares, and I’m thinking $2 each is very fair. 300dpi print covering the whole table should be 118 pixels on each side of each square (300*10/25.4). Plenty for all kinds of messages or fun pics! Plans are already being drawn up for a short kickstarter video to promo this project.

I’m glad we had this talk

I’m heading out right now to pick up the last mounting hardware for the air pump. If it fits then tomorrow I rewire all the components and try to get through the unit tests. Maybe even an integration test! God laughs at the plans of mortal men.

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Animated Carnival Light Arrow Upgrade

Paul came to the shop with a 2′ carnival light arrow sign that had five LED light bulbs inside. He asked if I could make them light one at a time to animate the pointing effect. Read on to see how it was done.

Continue reading Animated Carnival Light Arrow Upgrade

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jigsolve: modelled and added camera

TBH I have no idea if the camera can see the nozzle tip from there or if the image will be in focus. More than a little important! I’d be very grateful to our lizard overlords if I did NOT have to build a mirror system to get the image to the camera.

The M2*20 screws were hidden when I took this screen shot. ( •_•)>⌐■-■ (⌐■_■)

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Jigsolve: X-Carve assembled

I bought and assembled an X-Carve CNC. I am now designing a few parts to hold the rotating air nozzle that will pick up jigsaw pieces. (purple plate, pin, plate, yellow tube.) once I can turn and suction up pieces I’ll add a few more bits to hold a raspberry pi camera, which will be mounted to look down at the nozzle.

Here’s the X-Carve mostly assembled.

X-carve coming together pretty fast now…

A post shared by Marginally Clever Robots (@imakerobots) on

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Jigsolve: X-Carve to the rescue

This has been on the backburner for too long, sitting in a corner and taunting me with it’s unfinished business. The problem is not the suction nozzle or the camera or the code – it’s the janky gantry I built, partly to save money and partly to learn about CoreXY systems.

Business is good and the money is there, so I’ve purchased an Inventables X-Carve machine. Once it arrives I’ll mount the suction nozzle instead of a cutter and run the system like that. Later when the thrill of jigsolving is gone I’ll repurpose the X-Carve as a traditional CNC machine.

More when the X-Carve assembly happens.

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