Maker Faire success – and fail!

Got R2 home safely from Maker Faire.

He was a big hit with the kids as always – and his new gizmos and songs were really popular.

I had a small malfuction with the smoke effect which resulted in a small electrical fire which I caught very quickly and saved from being a giant problem. I had him running again in a couple of hours.

I also saw a new chip from Arduino/Bosch that contains all of the sensors and software to run a balancing robot – so that might be something that will help with BB-8

Maker Faire

Maker Faire

Maker Faire

Maker Faire

Maker Faire

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Prep for the 11th annual Maker Faire

In preparation for the Maker Faire I wanted to have some improvements over last year.

I have been doing quite a bit, but not much documentation.

I replaced my old light system with the fiber optics offered on the astromech forum. They are much nicer, but caused me power problems. I have rewired a little to help this problem. I also added servos to the utility arms (and installed the aluminum ones I got long ago) and the two tall doors to reveal the two gadgets inside.

also- since my dye was fading somewhat terribly, I masked off the panels and re-sprayed.

Paint touch up by Kim'n'Cris Knight, on FlickrPaint touch up by Kim'n'Cris Knight, on FlickrPaint touch up by Kim'n'Cris Knight, on Flick R2 is feeling blue againPaint touch up by Kim'n'Cris Knight, on FlickrPaint touch up by Kim'n'Cris Knight, on FlickrFresh new blue by Kim'n'Cris Knight, on Flickr


I have been adding servos, and working to eliminate the Dan Power Board from the systeGetting closer. Now using Chris’s 5v power board for servo and dome power runs. Running the arduino off of 5v from the pololu converter through the power connector now instead of USB from the Dan BoardAdded a crap diagram of the servo levers and photographs in case / when they break.Door servos for the two tall doors now operating like marrionettes with fishing line pulling them open/shut. bad_drawing by Kim&Cris Knight, on Flickrwiring working with labels by Kim&Cris Knight, on Flickrdoor servo with fishing line by Kim&Cris Knight, on Flickrbottom arm servo by Kim&Cris Knight, on Flickrtop arm servo by Kim&Cris Knight, on Flickrbottom close wiring detail by Kim&Cris Knight, on Flickrtop close wiring detail by Kim&Cris Knight, on Flickrnew wiring by Kim&Cris Knight, on Flickr


Categories: arduino, electronics, logics, Paint, servos, utility arms | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

10th Annual Maker Faire

This weekend I took R2 to the Bay Area Maker Faire. This year was the 10th year of the Faire and it was amazing.  We had 12 builders all displaying droids at the booth and around the Faire.


I was able to talk to tons of people about building R2 and entertained lots of kids and kids at heart.


One big thing was that a lot of people wanted to buy a copy of my photobook.  I did not have any to sell _ I only made 1, but the link to buy the book still works if anyone really wants one.

The good news is that it is still available.  The bad news is that it is expensive and you may want to wait for a coupon code


Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 5.09.54 PM

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arms installed

yesterday I finished mission, get something into those two big doors for C7.

I had a reject computer arm thanks to the kindness of James, (it was rejected before finishing) so I lathed the lines in (more or less)

lathe by kimncris, on Flickr

and i got it mounted in the right side panel with a scratch made breadpan

right by kimncris, on Flickr

but making that breadpan was a chore. so for the left side I tried printing one according to the senna plans

3dprint by kimncris, on Flickr

and it came out really good on the first try! I had to trim down the wood inside r2 a tiny bit, but other than that, a nice fit.

pan by kimncris, on Flickr

and last weekend’s project with a quickie arm to go with it, and I have a nifty grabber claw

armandpan by kimncris, on Flickr.

left by kimncris, on Flickr

neither one “does” anything of course, but at least the see through holes are gone when you (i’m looking at you little kids) open the panels

I think this is it until after C7.


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3d print a gripper claw

I spent today learning to 3d model and made myself a little gripper claw.

Still don’t know how I will attach it, but hopefully I can at least hang it inside poor old forgotten R2 for Celebration.

Little did I know that Chris was doing the same thing, and much better I might add. But still it was a good learning experience.

thing file is here: if you want to play around with it. I’m not sure about the scale. Right now it prints about 3″ long for the claw part, which is just about as big as I can print anyway.

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Dallas R2 meetup

today was Jame’s open house for Dallas builders. I love being able to talk to other builders who are solving the sames problems I might be having.

but first I spent a couple of hours trying to find a better way to get R2 into the truck.

I modified my hand truck to fit r2 but it is even higher than the harbor freight cart I was looking at.

Cart experiment by kimncris, on Flickr

with my ramp I was able to drive him onto this cart, and then struggled up the ramp very unsafely onto the truck.

Cart in truck 1

but look how high he sits!

Cart in truck 2 by kimncris, on Flickr

it was wobbly and felt very dangerous. even with tie downs I did not trust this.

so I went off cart and back to just the ramp for now and headed to the r2 gathering.

Talking r2 by kimncris, on Flickr

I got to meet some builders I have not met before, and of course talk lots of robotics, and paint.

one funny moment, when I took the back off I loosened the wire that triggers the fog, so it looked like R2 was venting all of his air when I took the door off. OOPS!

here is R2 daydreaming about having his computer interface arm one day

Test fit by kimncris, on Flickr

we also experimented with dragging a ground wire to see if it helps my static electricity build up. It did!

and here is a group picture

DFW builders meetup

one surprise of the day, thanks to James, R2 has a new project!

New project

So much fun


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Van De Graff Generator

I was watching youtube the other day and came across this video which  made me think that my static electricity build up may be coming from rubbing between the tires and wood feet? Or the steel axles and wood feet?

Something called the Triboelectric effect.

but where is the generation happening?  What I do know now is that if I drag a small wire under R2’s foot, the charge buildup does not happen or if it does, not nearly as rapidly.

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Cure Duchenne

today on adventures in R2 – broken chain!

I took R2 to the Cure Duchenne event in Dallas this weekend. It started off well enough, but the thick textured carpet may have been extra trouble.

Cure Duchenne by kimncris, on Flickr

Cure Duchenne by kimncris, on Flickr

Claw machine by kimncris, on Flickr

Prize machine by kimncris, on Flickr

the game room and our dressing room were about as far from each other and the main door as could be – which I think may have wobbled one of the motor brackets loose from the wood internal feet. Also there were a bit more static electricity problems than normal, maybe due to the carpet – but for sure I was resetting R2 a lot more.

anyway when I started driving him back to the dressing area I hear a really loud chunk chunk chunk of the chain slipping, and then noticed that the left drive chain had come off and was on the carpet. I could not find the clip that holds the linking chain link on, so I was stuck pushing him back to the room. All they way across the bowling alley!

Broken chain by kimncris, on Flickr

at least the right wheels still worked so I only had to push enough to keep him straight.

Luckily the left foot had had a chain problem sometime ago and I replaced it. The spare, I had in my repair kit. so I managed to rethread the spare on and although it was still chunk chunk chunking, I was able to drive him out backwards which did not cause the chain to slip. I think maybe a larger drive gear might help with the slipping. not sure….

anyway when I got home I was able to see that the motor was loose and got it tightened back up. on the other foot I shortened the chain to help with the slipping- i think I may need to do it here too.

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Happy Dance!

So Happy!!

Tonight I worked on getting the door lock actuator working so I could finally have my fire extinguisher effect.

essentially I just replaced the weak solenoid with the awesome door lock motor that Victor recommended.  I got this one on Amazon for about $7 and free shipping!

rigged up by kimncris, on Flickr


here is the can data btw

barcode by kimncris, on Flickr

brand by kimncris, on Flickr

and I made this little cheesy mount for my servo and switch

switch open

servo linkage by kimncris, on Flickr

and closed via servo

servo linkage 2 by kimncris, on Flickr

this made the code very easy (and also the wiring – just hook up servo to the three pins on the servo controller, and battery 12v to the pushbutton switch. I moved the diode over to the actuator as well just in case)

spray code by kimncris, on Flickr

here is a video of the first test

to secure the can I looped a dryer vent clamp through one of the iron uprights

slipped under side rail by kimncris, on Flickr

you can see it here through the front large panel door

view through large door by kimncris, on Flickr

for now the servo and switch assemby are resting inside the large back panel of r2 at the bottom. I need to add a hinge to this door at some point.

servo assembly inside back large door by kimncris, on Flickr

can top view

can inside r2 by kimncris, on Flickr

what you can’t see it the clear hose running from the nozzle to the front top center vent

but it is there

tube by kimncris, on Flickr

mist 2 by kimncris, on Flickr

DSC08723 by kimncris, on Flickr



Categories: adafruit, arduino, electronics, fire extinguisher, servo | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

mist fail

well I guess with a success has to come a failure…

I thought now that my servos are possible that I would try to get the mist effect working.

I know that soleniod and arduino are dangerous bedfellows – and seeing how victor and mike did theirs basically just powering the solenoid with 12v via the remote, I thought maybe I could try a low tech solution.

it seems a servo is not strong enough to pull the trigger on the air can, so the theory was to hook a switch up to the solenoid straight to the 12v battery

that worked

Untitled by kimncris, on Flickr

push the button – solenoid pulls.

one problem – when the solenoid releases – the voltage spike causes a pop in the sound system and the holo servo twitches.

this was partly fixed with a little diode I ripped out of a broken swiffer vac. The pop is gone, but the servo twitch still happens. I figure the salvage diode is not the right size – but at least it is an improvement.

Untitled by kimncris, on Flickr

then finally with the electric working a test…

Untitled by kimncris, on Flickr

but alas – the solenoid is nowhere near strong enough to fire the can. I got the most powerful one they have at adafruit, but no way. I’ll have to look for one like Victor and Mike are using.

too bad too – because It looks really cool to have the mist coming out of r2’s front vents. I put the can inside anyway for demonstration purposes, but i have to press the trigger manually which is less fun…

Categories: adafruit, electronics, solenoid | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment