Things to do.

So yesterday I got all obsessed with 3d printers. I wanted one soooo bad. So I tried to build 3D CNC (computer controlled cutter) out of lego robotics. I’ve done this before and failed ( this guy has succeeded). But this time around I had more gears and thought I might succeed. But I didn’t. I had really precise X and Y axes. But one side of the X- axis was dragged along by the other and couldn’t be fixed without adding a lot more gears which I don’t have. I might try a different design. Or I guess I better start saving for a $1299 makerbot. Or maybe I should build an eggbot instead.

Speaking of 3D printers, this exclusive interview with bre pettis by make is pretty interesting. Bre is the guy who started Makerbot Industries and is an interesting example of how you can make what you love doing as a hobby a full time job. He recently got $10 million dollars in funding from VCs and has sold a lot of printers so he’s a pretty happy guy. Check it out here:


Tomorrow I’m going to Make Hack Void to work on some infrared hacking with my robosapien. These are seriously cool old toy robots that aren’t really all that intelligent and rely on humans to tell them what to do via remote control. If I can decode the infrared protocol that robosapiens use then I can control them using an arduino. I can then use the arduino to pass commands from the internet to the robot. This allows for both phone and computer control wirelessly. Then I want to build a little enclosure and webcam setup that lets anybody drive one of these robots using the internet. Kind of like a robotic version of one of the many RC cars around that anyone can control. I’d have it running for a week and film the results. But first I have to decode the infrared.

On the topic of internet controlled stuff I’m thinking about making my room phone controlled. And the whole google ADK usb host thing doesn’t look like it works with that much stuff yet so I think I’m going to take a different approach. I’d probably go with a browser based control application to allow me to switch on and off lights and power as well as music etc. One of the simpler ideas for doing cool lighting control was getting one of these and hacking what appears to be it’s infrared remote control system. That way I can control high powered RGB lighting without having to mess around with dangerous high voltage. I was also thinking of using something like a power switch tail to turn on and off other devices. And I might get some solenoids so I can have a phone controlled door lock. But if my phone went flat and my charger was in my room I would be a bit stuffed. Maybe I should build something like this instead for security.

When you think about it infrared is not as old fashioned and useless as it sounds. It can be used to control cheap chinese helicopters, humanoid robots, speakers and even DSLR cameras. So it’s actually pretty useful knowing how to use infrared protocols. Hence me wanting to learn more.

I really want to get into some programming to display some arduino data (like my synthesizers levels) visually in a computer application. I was thinking of learning processing as it seems to be a common choice for this sort of stuff. It’s open source and has a lot of cool example projects on it’s website. However, the arduino IDE is based on processing and it’s as slow as a turtle. I think that’s because it’s based on Java.

A while back i wrote for a magazine called aviator about my first flying lesson. I wrote an article because I went to a holiday school thing about how writing for magazines can make you a lot of money. I didn’t get anything for my article. But I keep on reading things in magazines like Make: and Popular Science on stuff that interests me. And there will always be something that I wish they wrote more about or something they didn’t include that’s really cool and would fit right in. I’ve got one week of holidays left so I might write something up on electronics. Maybe.

Here’s a cool project I saw recently

Looks like I’ve got a lot of stuff I can be doing. Better do it.


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