Monthly Archives: March 2013

Cross platforming with MinGW/GCC

I’ve been working on this project that needs data streamed to the serial port, and I’m working on making it cross platform.  That’s at Windows/Linux … I’m sure if I get Linux working an OSX port would be easier.  I have to say MinGW is an great environment.  Teamed up with Eclipse, (other than my normal gripes with Eclipse) I’m pretty satisfied I must say.  I’m able to take my project over to Linux and compile just the same.

Now dealing with serial ports in Windows/Linux still needs some abstraction, I thought the MinGW lib’s would actually help more on this, but they seem to work fine for Linux but the process is slightly different in Windows, thus I still had to make wrapper functions for open/close/write/read and a few #if directives.  Not too bad, I just thought this is something simple enough that would have been built in already.  Oh also had to macro define sleep for a delay.  I should try to figure out how to compile for both environments with 1 compiler, maybe use crosstool.  For now I’m ok just having the same code and building on both environments.

The ord bot build has begun!

2013-03-21 03.10.17I was greeted with a package today containing some of the parts for my 3d printer (ord boy hadron).  So late last night I spent about 6 hours putting the frame together.  I can’t say the assembly documentation was well spelled out, it was just barely enough to get it done.  And even then I know I put some parts on wrong.  I’m not worried about it though I just wanted to roughly put it together, as I have no electronics other than steppers at the moment.  So I’m still waiting on the extruder, heat bed, controller.  I didn’t bother running wires or aligning the rails.  It moves pretty good but I need to take the gantry off and flip the mounting bracket for the extruder, also some how I have the stepper on the wrong side for the y axis even though it shouldn’t matter.  I feel good about it, there were some annoying things like the front foot didn’t mount well. The holes in the aluminum weren’t tapped and the only tap I had was a cheap chinese one that didn’t work _at all_.

More 3D Printer parts ordered

I ordered a bunch of stuff from Panucatt Devices, namely the Azteeg X3 controller, Helios 200 Heat bed, and a viki lcd just for fun.  I also went with the dual extruders from QU-BD, despite what I’ve read on the internet.  There are a lot of unhappy people with this extruder, i’ll try it, and if it doesn’t work out i’ll pick up something else.  I still need a power supply, I’m not sure why people are moving away from using ATX power supplies, maybe for size?

Building a 3D Printer

ord_bot_2-1-300x248I’ve been thinking of putting one together recently.  I have a Makerbot I can use at my hackerspace. But I’d like to have one at the house.  So shopping around I decided to go with the Ord Bot platform, Automation Technologies sells a good kit for the base platform but it’s missing some things like the extruder/electronics/bed.  I ordered that.  Just got my shipping notice.



Using VirtualBox without the GUI

Very frequently I have the need to use a Windows XP machine remotely, this virtual machine is set up on my local server so I don’t really run a GUI all the time on it.  So what I’ve done is (using the GUI) set up VirtualBox, installed / configured it then shut it down.  To bring the machine I made a quick bash script:

VBoxHeadless -s "Windows XP VM"

And run it from within screen (to keep the process alive after disconnect).  After that I just RDP into the box and use it like a home away from home.  Pretty handy, especially if you had a multitude of machines you wanted to bring up and use then shut down without having to first vnc/remote into another gui, then start the virtualbox gui, and use the gui from a gui gui gu gui… gui.

Hexy’s power woes revisited

I found this great article (where I shamelessly stole the image to the left from) it has a lot of stress testing on different alkalines and they threw in some rechargables.  You can clearly see by the graph that most alkalines are going to buckle real fast when you try to draw 2 amps from them.  This makes sense because when I was using the alkalines the result was much worse than the bench power supply (which current limits shortly after 3A).  If you look further down he does this test on some NIMH cells and he was able to get 5A out of it without too much voltage drop.  This is clearly the explanation why the alkalines were so horrible.  So I got a few different power options coming.   I got some cheap buck regulators from fleabay and some cells coming.  Hopefully it’s sufficient to at least run through the demo software properly!

Hexy the Hexapod build


2013-03-14 02.31.30I got my Hexy the hexapod kit from the kickstarter finally, maybe 6 months late.  Reasonable in kickstarter terms.  Anyhoo I decided to put it together last night.  The build process was pretty straight forward, however towards the end when you get into like mounting the battery pack / routing wires / etc things get a little sketchy.   I guess my biggest gripe right now would be with the power, I need to order some lithium/nimh cells or do a custom battery pack or something.  Alkalines aren’t goint to cut it.  I was a little sad not to have gotten much movement out of it.  I even hooked it up to my bench power supply but it maxxed it out at 3A and still just failed.