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Showing posts from 2011

3D Printer Build Post 1 (RepRap Prusa Mendel)

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The long journey to building a 3D printer has been underway for quite a while now. With the complete set of parts ordered and much of the construction finished I decided to share the progress; outline my frustrations, and post about how you can benefit from my mistakes.

I have been building the printer for over a month; and the last batch of parts arrived early this week. What can clearly be said about this project is that you will underestimate it. The original plan was to get this working in six months. Once construction was underway; it seemed more like a month. It now looks like this could really take up to six months (to produce a quality 3D printed part). In this part of the coverage; I hope to outline the budget and basic build so far; finally going over some problems and warning points.

The budget for this printer is quite high. It is a mid-range open source 3D printer known as a Prusa Mendel. You can find the wiki for it here. I chose to start with the basics (more on this la…

Arduino Robot 3 - Part 1 - Reflectance Sensor

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This is the first part of my post covering my creation of the line following Arduino robot. In this post I will talk about the costs; setup and preparation for creating the robot. I will also discuss a few different approaches to line following that I explored. We will get the sensor attached to the robot and retrieving data. In the next part, we will cover the final approach used; tour the code, and see the full video.

The budget for this tank is quite low, because we start with Robot 1. I chose to add a single reflectance sensor to the bottom of Wandering Tank; and remove the wall avoidance equipment. So, the budget:
Robot 1 ($98.00) [See this post for building Robot 1]Sensor - Pololu QTR Reflectance Sensor $2.49 + $4.95 S&H (est) So Line Following Tank has an estimated budget of $105.00 to build.

Since there is no need for the parts from Robot 2, the cost is very low. I would suggest coming up with a few other things to order so that you don't pay more in shipping and handl…

Resuming My Robot Work With Bonus 3D Printer Project

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Well after a long break of working on the house; this blog will be returning to a primarily robot programming focus. My work on the house is shared elsewhere...

So; I've resumed work on my robot and added a second Arduino to my arsenal; this way I can prototype ideas without disassembling the robot. I have used it to go through the tutorial for the TFT screen:



The new Arduino is an UNO; they come in much more sophisticated packaging than their predecessor:






That is a sticker sheet on the right and a EULA in the middle. The first nice thing to notice about the UNO is it auto switches the power source. You can see this difference and other slight changes in the comparison here:


So; I will post about the robot again when line following can be demonstrated and the code is ready to share. I hope to share two versions (with and without TFT info printing).

With that; the other exciting news is that I am building a 3D printer; which I will document here and share my problems (and answer an…

The Great Office Project - Part 2

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Being the main room of the house for us as a couple; the office was quickly finished; save for some decorating. Once the floor was completed the path was cleared to get desks in and finish up.

We continued the office by planning for a possible return to being a bedroom; either for selling the house or as needed. So we did built-ins for the closet. This gives us a lot of storage for the office; while requiring only that we put a door back on to convert it back to a bedroom with a closet.



With the closet done; I get into the attack and added a support brace so that we could hang a ceiling fan with no worries. With the ceiling fan and the new HVAC; it is very easy to heat or cool the office.

After that; I simply trimmed the bottom of the door a bit and put it back on. The kick plate for the door was wrong; so I chiseled it out a bit more; so now the door swings freely and shuts. With this done; I immediately noticed it was 'hanging'; so like many other doors in the house; I removed…

Back To Robotics - A Long Awaited Update

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There has been next to no progress on my robot; this has been due to buying a house and realizing I would need to do a lot of work on it. That aside; I now have a work bench coming together and the time and money freeing up to get back to it (yay!).

There is some news; there is now a local Maker Space getting started up. This may provide tools, resources and people to work with. I am very excited since I live nearby (about a mile away); though there is no way I could currently afford the membership fee. We will see; as I plan to stop by one of their open houses.

More exciting; I have purchased a part. I saw the part come up on my reader feed and realized it was cheap and would go quickly. I refer to the 1.8 inch 18 bit color TFT LCD display with microSD card breakout released by adafruit. At only $25.00 I knew they would be gone in an instant so I just went ahead and purchased one! My goal for this is to use it for output from the robot; debugging output in the short term and more int…

Improving your Netbeans Java Class Template And Including A License File

Well, working with Netbeans I have a problem occur over and over. One of those annoying programming tasks where you always make the change but are too lazy to deal with underlying problem. Today I decided to address on of them. Every time I create a class in Netbeans, there is a comment that appears at the top:
/*  * To change this template, choose Tools | Templates  * and open the template in the editor.  */
My co-workers leave this in place; I am OCD about removing it every time. I don't like four lines of useless code at the top. This morning I decided to change this problem and maybe make my Java class templates a little better. I will walk through improving the class template, and adding the license file for display.

This is a stub class created before the changes:
/*  * To change this template, choose Tools | Templates  * and open the template in the editor.  */ package com.something.somewhere; /**  *  * @author GFrick  */ public class MyClass {  // class here.    }
We wi…

New Site For Robotics And Electronics Supplies

I was browser my Google reader feed and a great site popped up. I've checked it out and once I get my work bench set up and get back to my robot; I'll definitely be ordering some things from here. I wanted to spread the word about the site: http://www.inmojo.com/

They have lots of RFID, Robotics and just Arduino stuff that I think would be cool to play with.

I hope to get a full post up soon.

Installing the Sun (Oracle) JDK on 64 Bit Ubuntu From Shell

I had a bit of trouble installing the JDK via the shell; but I eventually figured it out. Seems a large part of the problem was differences in 64 vs 32 bit Ubuntu. I wanted to use the apt-add-repository, but had to figure out that it requires some python libs. Here are the simply steps if you have been looking:


sudo apt-get install python-software-propertiessudo add-apt-repository "deb http://archive.canonical.com/ lucid partner"sudo apt-get updatesudo apt-get install sun-java6-jdk After that, you should have javac/etc.

I don't even know what to do about this...

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So; this is what our basement sink ran into. When I move the sink; the pipe fell right out because it wasn't connected to anything.




What do the codes say about this? Can I even connect to this? Aren't sewer gases coming up from this hole?

Soooo lost.

The Great Office Project - Part 1

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We purchased our home with the knowledge that at least one of us was a computer nerd; and at least one of us might soon work from home. We hated the crowded guest bedroom/office we have now - so a major part of buying a home was to have an office. Below is the choice bedroom that was marked for rebirth; a couple year old picture actually.


From here; we purchased the home. The plan was to paint the walls and trim; and to go all out with a nice Bamboo floor and glass desks. Very modern. So we closed on the house.. this apparently counts as broom swept / clean....


So, I ripped up the carpet and padding. Low and behold was a great surprise! My father was helping out at the house that day; if not, I would have had a full on nervous breakdown. Check the pictures of the fire damage; they speak for themselves. Why was this deemed 'OK'?






After I recovered from my shock and took some time to plan; I decided we would be fine replacing some boards and putting a couple boxes of 'stud buste…