Wow long time since an update

So many things have happened I just had not had the time to post updates.  Well… look forward to me catching up some updates to things I’ve made.

And a printing we will go…

2013-09-02-03.48.06Still playing catch-up with the updates. But here we go.  First up, got the VIKI LCD working, after scouring the web on how to get this wired up with the azteeg x3 + marlin.  The buttons all seem to do the same thing, but the encoder works, and the display works. It appears the support in marlin is minimal so this isn’t so bad.

 

 

2013-09-01-20.19.25Next I got the Helios heated bed mounted.  The parts from panucatt shipped with some good insulation to stick underneath of it.  So did that part.

 

 

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Then I cut some glass, I found a glass cutter and a sheet of replacement glass for picture frame.  Cut it down to about 8×8.  This was my first time cutting glass so I’ll most likely buy another one and do it again, as I cut it a little too short.  After I was done cutting I sanded the edges with sandpaper just to keep myself from bleeding all over the place.

 

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I know everyone loves binder clips, but this is all I had, so I’m using these clips for now until I get some binder clips.  The binder clips don’t stick out as much so I do want to do that.  Here’s the board mounted.

 

At this point I mounted all the limit switches and wired them up.  It appears to me most people building these mount the z home switch towards the bed.  I feel like that is an odd thing to do, because you will constantly have to tweak that so people make a mount with a screw so they can finely dial it in.  I remember using the Makerbot Thing-O-Matic and it homed it’s z on the limit then in software knew its height and could be set via software.  So I went that route.  I mounted the Z on the limit, then I set the height via repeteir and it knows where 0 is based off of that.  This way I can tune it into fractions to get the z where I want without physically tweaking something.

2013-09-02-03.47.43From there it’s just twist more wires, and fire it up.  I’m actually amazed at how long the bed takes to heat up.  I have the thermistor snugly against the glass in the center so I’m reading the glass temp.  But it takes quite awhile to warm up.  I think I’m going to throw down some transistor grease between the glass and the bed to see if that improves.  For now we will go with it.

 

 

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There it is folks.  The first print.   Obviously I didn’t set my extrusion rate properly.  So cancel that.  And lets try again.

 

 

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And boom.  Now that’s a pretty print.  Yeah I know it’s lopsided.  That was because I actually didn’t tighten the belts before I started.  So I was tightening them while it was printing.  Otherwise it’s a great looking print for #2.

Now that everything is working properly, it’s time to fix the wires, and then I can go back to dialing in that picture perfect print.

Ok, I give up on the QU-BD extruder’s …

2013-08-30 17.54.08So in an effort to actually get my ord bot up and running I’ve been putting in some hours in the garage.  I’ve been just twisting wires and taping them and trying to get things running, then when I know how everything will function I’ll tidy up.

In this effort I was previously attempting to run a dual QU-BD setup.  Someone asked me why I chose to go QU-BD despite all the terrible reviews.  Well I had a chance to think about it.  The QU-BD was built off of a Makerbot reference design, and the version I bought was version 9.  My theory was that a) they’ve probably worked out the bugs by now.  and b) people on the internet like to complain.

Well I was wrong.  After spending countless hours fiddling with it, I just can’t seem to get it to extrude consistently (I’m not even trying to print with it at this point, just extrude right).  I’ve spent so many hours tweaking this thing that I just need to throw it out of the window.  Now I have read tons of fixes for it, people making parts like spring loaded tensioners, etc.  I’m just going to scrap it for parts and get something that works.

2013-08-30 15.29.27So what to get ?  First off, I’ve heard so much good praise about the J-Head hot end.  So I went to order a one from hotends.com but he was out of stock.  So I ordered one off of ebay only to read a review afterwards about sub-par quality of the chinese J-Head clones.  So while I was waiting on my J-Head to ship from china, I checked hotends.com again and they were in stock!  So I ordered one from hotends.com and it actually arrived before the one from china.

 

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For an extruder I bought the EZStruder from seemecnc.com.  Again I’ve heard good things about it.
Looking a the quality of the EZStruder, the molded plastic parts looked like the were going to work perfectly.  Everything was just the right fit and tolerance.s, and it fits perfectly to a J-Head nozzle.  I stole the stepper off of one of my QU-BD extruders instead of buying a new one.  Also I decided to just focus on a single head design and when everything is happy I’ll order another EZStruder and see about getting the chinese J-Head working with it in a dual design.  For now I want to just get the ball rolling.

So now the J-Head shipped with a power resistor to heat it.  I actually have a heater cartridge I got off ebay that I think looks nicer, plus it means I don’t need to find any high temp wire to hook up to it.  So I went with the heater cartridge.

 

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The only issue I had with the heater cartridge is it doesn’t seem to fit real snug.  The QU-BD design had a screw tensioner you could put on the cartridge to make it a nice snug fit.  The J-Head site recommends using some compound for like muffler holes.  I decided to improvise by pulling tiny strands of stranded wire through with it to give it a nice snug fit.

2013-08-30 16.06.362013-08-30 16.33.26To mount it, I found a bracket made by bwevans on the ord-bot forums (link here).  I printed it out on an old thing-o-matic at my hackerspace.  The bracket fit nice, it uses holes already there for the belt attachment and I just had to find some screws that fit.

 

Some other pics are posted below.  So far I can tell you this setup works perfectly.  Everything fits together real nice, the filament is nice and sturdy and it seems to be able to extrude really fast and hasn’t slipped once.

Finally some Ord Bot progress

2013-08-02 17.22.49I’ve been neglecting my ord bot build for awhile, but I’ve finally made some progress.

First of all let me explain something.  Aside from the hardon platform, I really didn’t want to follow any templates.  I just figured I’d order a bunch of parts and figure things out as I go.  If I wanted instructions to put X in Y I would have bought a full kit.

With that out of the way — I decided to start mounting the electronics.  I played with the idea of putting the power supply under the platform.  I think that for weight distribution it would be nice under there.  I don’t remember exactly (as I’m playing catch up with posts at the moment) but I decided not to.

So second choice is to mount the power supply to the main brace with the handle.  Which conveniently has lots of mounting holes in it already.  Again weight distribution in mind, it should lay flat, but that would have taken all my real estate for mounting stuff to it.  So I ended up mounting the power supply vertical and using it as a shelf for my controller.  I figured why not.

I started out with some acrylic I had laying around and drilled some holes to mount some standoffs from the power supply.  Then I did some more standoffs for the actual Azteeg X3 controller.  Finally, I think I had to drill 1 hole to mount the power supply to the board (I re-used one existing hole).

I’m actually happy with the way it turned out.  It does make the back end a little heavy but I don’t think it will affect anything much.

For now I’m just twisting and taping the wiring so I can get a feel for how long things need to be and mounting.  I’ve actually made more progress, but I wanted to break each part up in sections.

Setting up HackRF in Windows with SDR#

sdrbreakerI already got my HackRF working in linux with GNU Radio, but I dual boot my laptop into windows too and sometimes its nice to have access to other programs anyway.  Besides, I can’t seem to get it working inside a linux VM while in windows (Keep getting libusb IO errors, puuuh!).   So on with it.

USB Driver

zadigFirst thing we need is a driver.  Grab the latest Zadig, I’m using 2.0.1.160.  Un-7zip the file, run the installer and select your HackRF device to install the usb driver.

 

 

Application

Grab the latest _DEV_ version of SDR# here.  As of writing this I’m using 1135.

Unzip SDR# to your drive under your favorite naming convention (i.e.  c:\sdrsharp)

 

Plugin

Next grab a copy of the HackRF plugin from Zefie’s site.  Here is a link to v1.3 which is what I used.

Extract the HackRF plugin to your sdrsharp directory (i.e. c:\sdrsharp)

Open up SDRSharp.exe.Config and find the line “<frontendPlugins>”, and add

<add key="HackRF / USB" value="SDRSharp.HackRF.HackRFIO,SDRSharp.HackRF" />

sdrsharpeditpreferably directly after “<frontendPlugins>”

Save and close SDRSharp.exe.Config.

 

 

 Last few bits

hackrftools
Grab a copy of hackrf-tools for windows here generously compiled by Zefie again.  Extract this somewhere, you might need this.  How about c:\sdrsharp\hackrf-tools.  Copy libhackrf.dll and pthreadVC2.dll from hackrf-tools 32 bit dir to the sdrsharp directory.

Finally you may need the Microsoft Visual C++ 2012 Redistributable package.  I didn’t because I already had it, but in case you don’t have it you can grab it here.

That should be all you need to get up and running.  I did notice some issues like my feed would stop every once in awhile, I just did a stop then start in SDR# and it got going again.  This is probably due to the fact everything is beta :)

Happy SDRing.

Fun with Le Strum

2013-07-03 22.00.18I picked up a Le Strum kit from tindie. The kit is made by Jason Hotchkiss.  He’s got some amazing kits.  I also picked up an Arpie, but i’ll get to that one when I have time.

 

 

 

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So what is Le Strum ?  It’s a midi controller that generates notes by strumming.  So what do you get in the kit ?  Well a PCB board, a ton of buttons, a few ic’s and passives… etc.  Everything needed to put the kit together.

 

 

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First thing to notice here, is there is a _lot_ of soldering to do.  All the resistors, diodes, and buttons oh my!  The instructions are pretty straight forward, hosted on github, no complications, put the resistors in, the diodes, caps, buttons, solder it all….  Assemble the strumming probe, power it on and rock out!

 

 

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Don’t forget to attach the legs in the correct order, I had the long and the short ones offset at first and it was odd… but that was quickly fixed.

So powering it on for the first time.  Everything looked like it could work — but I couldn’t get any audio out of it.  I was using a USB-to-MIDI adapter and trying to get some music into Fruity Loops Studio but I wasn’t getting any midi notes.

I started diagnosing the problem fearing i would have to disassemble the entire thing.  I grabbed an LED and shoved it into pins 4 and 5 in the midi port and verified there was some data being clocked out (despite there being a midi led on the board… I wasn’t sure if the led was wired to the actual traffic or just a gpio on the pic).  So I had data clocking out but my USB-to-MIDI adapter (which I’ve used in the past) just wasn’t happy.

So I ended up hooking the Le Strum up to my MIDI controlled YM2149 that is technically still in beta.  Surprisingly it worked fine with my board.  So it may be a cheap USB-to-MIDI adpater being picky about signal quality or clock skew.  Good thing the kit comes with the quick reference card it was a timesaver.  My YM board didn’t like the default setting of being on note-off but changing it to note-on and in 2 channel organ + strum mode it sounded awesome.  Here’s a video of me strumming some chiptunes!

2013-07-03 20.50.58So in closing, awesome kit.  My only concern is the incompatibility with my cheap usb to midi adapter.  Makes me wonder if other equipment will have the same issue.  My next issue is the longevity of the strum pads, I feel they are going to wear out pretty soon and I’m very temped to just blob them with solder to keep them from wearing out.  Here’s a closer up picture of the pads, they are just like large pcb pads — I guess we will have to see!

Building a large bristle bot with my son

2013-06-30 18.47.59In the spirit of being a maker-dad, my son got this bristle-bot kit for christmas.  A little preemptive since he was only 2 and a half.  Well he is 3 now and been carrying around the box screaming robot for awhile — I thought it was time we put it together.

 

 

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He’s pretty amp’d up about putting this together.

 

 

 

 

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