I took the CNC to school today to show to my electronics class and some teachers. A lot of people were really interested in the nice spirograph drawings it produced. They were also amazed at how accurate it is. One teacher even gave me a nice fine tipped pen for it to draw with. It produced much finer lines than just a standard ball point pen. Here’s some prints from today.
Okay so the print quality is only getting better. But drawing things with pens is a bit pointless. That’s what a normal printer is for. So that’s why I want to get a laser. But this is problematic. Yesterday I tried to get some lasers out of some old CD drives. It worked but the lasers only emitted weak invisible infrared light. Infrared lasers are dangerous as their beam cannot be seen. And the lasers were not powerful enough to burn wood. So they were not a solution. The CD drives did however provide useful magnets to hold down the paper. These magnets were superseded by some rare earth magnets from the school electronics lab.
But I still have a problem with the lasers. It appears that the only way to get decently strong lasers is by getting them out of old blu ray drives. Here’s an example of the power of a blu ray laser:
But blu-ray drives are hard to come across. As are powerful off the shelf lasers in Australia. Hmmmmm. I’ll have to look around to find an old blu ray player. Once I have a laser I can cut out sculptures etc. Which was the whole point of building this thing.
The balloon is at a bit of a standstill at the moment. My electronics teacher said he went to the top of Red Hill and watched how far the high altitude clouds go in 15 minutes. He said they went north east and disappeared within 15 minutes from horizon to horizon. So Canberra may not have the right high altitude conditions to launch it. It could get blow way north where we couldn’t retrieve it. So I have to think about that. Or not go ahead with the build. 😦
So that’s about all I have to say for now. Right now I’m doing exams for school so I’m a bit busy. Hence the low amount of blog posts. But do not fear, I only have exams for the next week and then I’ll have heaps of free time. There’s even a review of the element 14 XL star dev board on its way.
Oh yeah and Bill if you’re reading this I just wanted to say (because I forgot to today) that I’m willing to help you out with getting started in Arduino. I know how confusing it can sometimes be.