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A different approach to CNC

jhitesma

Posted a thousand or more times
Mentor
#1
As some of you who've followed some of my other threads already know this time of year my projects tend to get pushed aside to make room for a few weeks of egg decorating. My family has both Ukrainian and Polish roots and has been doing pysanky egg decorating since long before I was born. I picked it up at a young age and now every year look forward to cranking out a few eggs. I dug out the supplies and did a quick test egg a week ago:

20170312_150918.jpg

And a quick shot of some eggs from past years that have survived:
20170312_181829.jpg

It's a fun process and dealing with the batik style building of colors helps break my mind out of a rut and think differently. I have some modern electric kistas which give extremely fine consistent wax control - but also still enjoy breaking out the candles and using traditional handmade kistas that are a little less predictable.

And while I'm a fan of tradition I'm also a gearhead and techie who loves to try new things. I heard about the egg-bot years ago and have considered making one for a long time because while I respect the work that goes into producing a kit there's just no way I can justify spending $200+ on one. A few years ago I rigged up a simple manual egg lathe to help me lay down guidelines - but it wasn't very effective. A year after that my mom got me a molded plastic egg lathe and I've since gotten hooked on the nice accurate guidelines it gives me. But it's still kind of tricky to use.

When I got my 3D printer a few weeks later I saw a printable egg-bot design and immediately bookmarked it. At the time I didn't think my printer was up to tackling it and it looked like quite a long print. Since then however I've got my printer dialed in and I've tackled many longer prints. So with the egg dyes out I figured it's time to finally make an egg bot!

I tried printing a fully printed version first but that didn't end well. So I went back to the original design I had seen. And then found an improved version of it and dug in.

Took me two evenings to print all the parts, and about $18 at the hardware store for the bits to assemble:

20170312_180137.jpg

Then I realized I only had 1 stepper motor on hand. So...I ordered 2 new ones instead which was another $20. I already have a pile of spare stepper drivers (the RAMPS boards I bought for my MPCNC and Printer came with A7805 drivers but I replaced them with DRV8825's, plus ordered some spare DRV's in case I burned any out.) and I have a bunch of spare arduino's on hand. I ended up using a RAMPS/Mega setup since it simplified the wiring and I had one laying around as a spare...even though it is crazy overkill for this. I may wire up something with just some drivers and a nano board to clean it up later - but for now I just wanted it up and going.

The official eggbot uses a PIC microcontroller and a custom board that includes 2 stepper drivers...it's an open design but $50 to buy the board and given the ubiquity of arudino's and the number of them I had on hand I didn't really want to bother building a pic based solution. I found a number of arduino based software solutions - but most of them weren't directly compatible with the eggbot extensions for inkscape. Then I found eggduino: https://github.com/cocktailyogi/EggDuino There's a PR for it that adds some improvements and gets it to compile on newer versions of Arduino: https://github.com/cocktailyogi/EggDuino/pull/17 That was submitted a year ago and is still just sitting there - so I get the feeling that the developer has abandoned the project. But with a few tweaks of my own I got it running on the RAMPS:

20170317_164509.jpg

First tests with a pencil proved promising so I hooked up a pen and gave it a go:
20170318_001725.jpg

Not horrible...but not great either. I had it adjusted all wrong physically and the servo that raises and lowers the pen wan't adjusted correct at all so it dragged between moves. But...still a promising start!

I adjusted the height of the Y stepper and the length of the motion arm for it, dialed in the servo and:
20170319_003901.jpg

Now we're talking!

I'm still fine tuning it - the steppers were running way too high current and getting hot - then I turned them down too low and the pen started dragging and stair stepping. But it's starting to do pretty well for me:

20170319_195640.jpg

I'm just using extra fine sharpies which aren't all that fine after all as you can see by the nutrition label egg. I'm also still occasionally having some issues with the pen lift - but am learning how to get it setup better each egg.

Now I need to put some time into designs for it :)

Oh - and to keep it related...I bet I can also load up a spinner and do something cool to it ;)
 

PsyBorg

Fly Angry
Mentor
#4
And the winner for this years best use for 3d printed things by a techno nerd goes to.....

I want to know what time compression software you use to work on all these projects. You CANT be doin all this stuff on just 24 hour days. Specially not being a Dad. That is awesome could you pop out a video telling more about this and then show the process you have come up with? Oh and moving this over to do custom spinners is a great idea which you could probably make a few bucks by doing them for people. Maybe come up with 3 - 5 generic designs you could "Mass" produce and see if FT would sponsor them on the store.
 

jhitesma

Posted a thousand or more times
Mentor
#5
The trick is most of my projects are never really "finished" and some are...well...hibernating :(

Like my Manx which went from being my daily driver to getting a "1 month" engine swap (which I actually technically pulled off) followed by a 12 year suspension upgrade :p Though in my defense the big slowdown there was moving from a rental house with a nice garage to buying a house with no garage. Yeah...I've got a big enough yard I could work on it...but I hate leaving tools laying out and I don't have time to put them away every day when I'm done. So...that project makes progress VERY slowly now.

The big trick is figuring out just how little sleep you actually need to get by :D

And honestly I watch everyone else finish plane after plane and quad after quad or crank out hundreds of lines of code while I eat lunch and feel like I can't get anything done - so I guess it's all kind of relative :p

Don't really want to make a business out of producing spinners. That's when things go from fun to no fun in my experience. I'm willing to help people out with custom one off projects - but not really interested in taking on additional responsibilities or burning out on a hobby because it stopped being a hobby and started being work :)
 

PsyBorg

Fly Angry
Mentor
#6
Oh something like that IF it took off to much over 5 per month would more then likely have to be done in a real production environment not on your home gear. Kinda why I put Mass in parenthesis. I was thinking of a few to be used as show pieces to test the waters.
 

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Moderator
Mentor
#7
And honestly I watch everyone else finish plane after plane and quad after quad or crank out hundreds of lines of code while I eat lunch and feel like I can't get anything done - so I guess it's all kind of relative :p
Wait . . . you take time to eat lunch?!? I think I see your problem ;)

I've come to grips that there are a lot more of "everybody else" than there are of "Me", so I'm working to separate the "accomplishment rate" online from my build pace -- any other way is discouraging and robs me of time.

That . . . and I generally don't document anything, which saves me gobs of time :p
 

JimCR120

Site Moderator
#8
Outstanding and a nutrion label on the egg is hilarious. Once again, another thing I want but will have to wait in an ever-growing line .
 

FoamyDM

Building Fool-Flying Noob
#9
I find myself falling asleep in the middle of working on things or sitting up on the couch catching up on TV. I once nodded with a hot soldering iron in my hand. :eek: I think back to when I made fun of my friends dad who would routinely turn on the baseball game and promptly pass out. Now I think I get his motivation.

I just wanted to say this looks like a lot of fun. A quick vid explaining what the pysanky decorating tradition is and how you are making it Egg-cellent with your egg-duino plotter. nice to see someone taking time to enjoy the egg coloring event. Last couple years have been a "wait, Easter's tomorrow?!?" kinda thing
 

jhitesma

Posted a thousand or more times
Mentor
#10
I find myself falling asleep in the middle of working on things or sitting up on the couch catching up on TV.
Oh yeah...getting fed up with paying for commercials and decided to just cancel cable/dish and live with the 10 channels I can pick up with an antenna (only 3.5 of which are in english) helped free up a lot of time and project funds too ;) Yeah, the first month or two I really missed some of my favorite shows. But now 8 years later I find TV's in public places incredibly distracting and find most television completely unwatchable. A few hours of netflix a week as a reward for doing well in school keeps my daughter happy, and the OTA stuff lets me catch the half dozen or so games a year I'm occasionally interested in or the olympics when they come around. I do tend to have youtube going when I need some background noise - but overall dropping TV has helped me get a lot more done and I get a lot more enjoyment out of that than I ever did out of vegging.

I just wanted to say this looks like a lot of fun. A quick vid explaining what the pysanky decorating tradition is and how you are making it Egg-cellent with your egg-duino plotter. nice to see someone taking time to enjoy the egg coloring event. Last couple years have been a "wait, Easter's tomorrow?!?" kinda thing
It's kind of funny, I got a new gopro and a notebook that can actually edit video...and my video output has dropped to almost nothing because I'm using that notebook to catch up on other computer related projects :) But...I do want to do a little something about this and including some info on the pysanky is a good idea...we'll see what I can come up with - but no promises in finishing that in time to release it before Easter...maybe "for Easter" but before isn't very likely :(

And yes, I've had quite a few "oh that's tomorrow" years lately myself!
 
#12
Strange that this project would be the one to convince me I really need to start thinking about a 3D printer....

Great work! Thanks for sharing
 

jhitesma

Posted a thousand or more times
Mentor
#13
Strange that this project would be the one to convince me I really need to start thinking about a 3D printer....

Great work! Thanks for sharing
Glad to hear it's inspiring you to dig in! I wanted a 3D printer for years...but couldn't afford one. Started collecting parts to build one several times but never quite got enough parts to pull it off. But once the prices dipped <$300 I was able to pull the trigger. Now I don't know how I lived without it. It's a rare day that my printer isn't cranking SOMETHING out for me.

Yesterday my daughter asked if I could make an egg for her teacher. Her school is "Gowan Science Academy" a local charter school with a focus on STEM, they're the gators and their mascot is an alligator in a lab coat. She also specifically requested an apple...hmmmm


(Direct link to vid if that doesn't embed correctly -> https://gfycat.com/ExcitableVictoriousFlamingo)

Not bad...ignore the red scribble....I had a loose wire on my rotation stepper the first try so I had to do it again but didn't want to waste an egg on a test.

This used 4 pens -> Red, Green, Brown, Black. But...the gator was just an outline. I used inkscape's trace bitmap to create paths for him from a PNG grabbed off their website. I did pretty good...but I knew it could be better.

Second try:


(Direct link to vid if that doesn't embed correctly -> https://gfycat.com/ShorttermJealousLarva)

I actually also added a 5th pen for yellow this time - but had it in the wrong order and didn't want to risk messing up the pen by plotting yellow after green (always work from lightest color to darkest!) so didn't plot the yellow fills in the gator.

The fills came out nice...but aren't very efficient...it's filling areas that are too small and just get covered over with the black - so I could improve that. Also my rotation stepper got out of sync at some point so the black is out of registration :( But the new font does look better.

Speaking of the font...the text uses an extension called "Hershey Text" which comes with the eggbot extensions, it uses special fonts that are designed for engraving rather than printing so they draw much more efficiently - usually with single strokes. It's a bit clunky to work with since you're dealing with paths instead of text, but gives great results as long as you're ok with the somewhat limited font choices.

Unfortunately at that point I ran out of time last night. So she wasn't able to have eggs to take in today before spring break starts. Thankfully though they go back to school before Easter so over break I'll work with her to improve the design and when she goes back to school she'll have eggs to share ;)
 

jhitesma

Posted a thousand or more times
Mentor
#15
How did you upload an auto playing video?
They're actually animated gif's :) https://gfycat.com/ generates them from videos and makes them easy to embed ;)

The gif version is actually the lowest quality and largest file...but can go anywhere a .gif can go. They have a couple of better embedding methods that are smaller and higher quality, but the FT forum doesn't support them :(
 

jhitesma

Posted a thousand or more times
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#18
It's a video when it's uploaded to gfycat...but they generate a .gif which I just link like any other image.
 

PsyBorg

Fly Angry
Mentor
#19
I don't Know.. With the proper head on that you may be able to put tattoo artists out of business one day. Just need a larger lathe to spin the humanz on :p

I'll bet your daughter is psyched about this huh.