The Printr Egg Boogie Board Bot

Printer Egg Boogie Board Bot

Over at Thingiverse, user gkrangan posted this wacky contraption: A machine to write with a stylus on a Boogie Board e-writer, built from PrintrBot Simple frame components, along with EggBot electronics and the pen-holder.  It’s driven through the EggBot extensions for Inkscape.

I was initially taping an index card onto the print platform for testing purposes, but when I saw this Boogie Board at a toy store, it seemed like a perfect choice to be used as the writing surface. One can draw/write anything on it, and erase with a press of a button. Of course, it can still be removed and any other suitable surface can be taped or mounted on the print platform, as necessary.

Printer Egg Boogie Board Bot @ Thingiverse

The Egg-Bot Electro-Kistka

Hardware 1
Pysanky eggs

We’re pleased to announce the availability of the Egg-Bot Electro-Kistka: An electric hot wax pen designed to be used with the EggBot. A kistka is the wax tool used in the traditional wax-resist and dye (batik) method to produce colorful eggs in the same fashion as Ukranian pysanky.

We would like to acknowledge that this is not by any means the first time that anyone has strapped a kistka to an EggBot— We wrote about Ann’s DIY version a few months ago, and we’ve seen other versions (both manually heated and electric) in YouTube videos dating back several years.

Hardware
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The Electro-Kistka consists of two main parts, connected by a cable: A heater assembly that gets mounted to the EggBot’s pen arm (in place of the usual pen holder), and a power control board that sits behind the EggBot.

The power control board is relatively simple: it accepts input from a plug-in power supply, and has an adjustment pot so that you can set the power level of the kistka.

The heater assembly has two parallel surfaces that you can see in the pictures.  The upper is a yellow circuit board with control electronics, and the lower red part is a machined aluminum heater block that holds the actual kistka tip.

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The kistka tip (right) has a small wax reservoir at the top and a smaller-yet point on the bottom that feeds molten wax onto the egg surface through gravity and capillary action.

Designing a good kistka tip is an art unto itself, and we are using field-proven kistka tips, wax, and other accessories from Folk Impressions, manufacturers of the excellent “white handle” electric kistka.  The tips are interchangeable and a number of sizes are available. For all of the examples shown here, we’re using only the #2 (medium) tip that comes with the kit.

Process: two-tone

The basic wax resist process is as follows: Apply wax to the parts of the egg that should remain the present color, and then dye the entire egg a different color.

Twain 1 Twain 2
Twain 4 Twain 5

For a simple two-tone image — white on black — we started with Mark Twain, one of our example images from the StippleGen project.  From a user standpoint, drawing wax onto the egg works exactly the same way as using a felt tip marker in the EggBot — it’s just a different tool that does the drawing.  The wax itself is black-colored beeswax, which is nice because you can see it against the egg.

After the EggBot finishes, we dip the egg in dye for a couple of minutes, and leave it to dry on a grid of little nails.

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Once the egg is dry, we remove the wax with a heat gun on the low setting (a glorified hair dryer…) and a tissue. With the black wax gone, the contrast is stunning. (If you are interested, here is how it looks before the wax is removed.)
Eggbot Logo 1 Eggbot Logo 2

Another example of a two-tone egg.  Alternately, you could dye the egg before the wax resist first goes on (say, yellow), and then dye it blue afterwards. The end result would be yellow lettering on a blue background.
Process: Multicolor

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overkill 3 overkill 4

Making multicolor eggs uses the same process, but with added complexity.  For this example, we applied wax resist on a bare (white) background, and then dyed the egg yellow and allowed it to dry (upper right).  We then applied a second layer of wax, dyed the egg red and allowed it to dry.  Finally, we applied a third layer of wax (lower left), dyed the egg blue, and allowed it to dry.  The results after removing the wax (lower right) show the white, yellow, red, and blue areas — not bad!

A caveat: It is harder than it looks.  While two-tone eggs are straightforward, we have found it to be challenging to precisely reposition an egg after removing it for dying. Thus, it takes considerable patience and experience to produce multicolor eggs with good registration between subsequent color layers.  We’d be interested in exploring better ways to do this.

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Still, maybe it’s worth the effort.

MoreEggs 4

The Egg-Bot Electro-Kistka begins shipping this week.

Robot Block Party

Silicon Valley Robot Block Party Banner

We’ll be at the Silicon Valley Robot Block Party on Wednesday, April 9 at WilmerHale in Palo Alto.

See the most advanced robotics research in Silicon Valley, the hottest robot startups, the coolest robot companies and all the just plain fun robots you can imagine.

The event is free and open to the public and runs from 1-4 pm. We hope to see you and your robots there!

Robots in the Central Valley

Rows of busy pits

Friday was a busy day in the pits at the Central Valley Regional FIRST Robotics Competition. The teams got their robots unpacked, inspected, and ran practice rounds prior to matches this weekend. We’re here with Fremont Robotics, and we’ll be taking pictures throughout the weekend and posting them (tagged by team number where identifiable) in this flickr set.

On the field

The challenge this year is fun to watch: the robots score goals with large exercise balls and earn extra points for passing to team members and throwing the ball over a beam. The event is free to attend and open to the public, so if you’re near Madera, California this weekend, we’d love to see you here!

Robots of BarBot 2013

Here are a few of the robots in attendance at BarBot 2013:

Schroedinger's Martini

Schrödinger’s Martini, in which the amount of vermouth is indeterminate until box is opened and the drink observed.

Thinbot

Thinbot, pouring impeccably mixed drinks with style.

Tiki Bot and Manhattan Shake

Manhattan Project and Mai Tai Project.

Outta Time

Outta Time, with a new LED lit control panel.

Tipsy Bot

Tipsy Bot, using Legos to tip ingredients into your glass.

Drink Making Unit 2.1

Our very own Drink Making Unit 2.1.

Barbot 2013

SW500 500SW (5:00 Somewhere) became affectionately known as Drink Drink Revolution or Dance Dance Intoxication. It judged your dancing skills and served you a drink thematically appropriate to your style.

Barbot 2013

Santa Barbot mixes drinks with super soaker components.

barbot 2013

Not all the robots were serving drinks, and this lampshade-wearing robot seemed like it may have had a few too many.

R2D2

No party is complete without R2D2, who wasn’t being used as a roving drink tray, since there were plenty of other robots to serve the humans.

Updated Nov. 9 to correct 500SW’s name.

CalGames 2013

in the pit

This weekend, Oct. 4-5, is CalGames 2013, an off-season FRC competition. It’s being hosted by the team we mentor, Firebird Robotics, at Fremont High School here in Sunnyvale, California. The event is open to the public and free of charge for spectators. Matches are scheduled for 6:15-7:15 Friday night, start again at 8:15 on Saturday morning and everything wraps up with awards at 5:15 on Saturday afternoon.

670 and 4135

If you’re in the area, come watch the robots shoot frisbees and climb the pyramids!

Client Bot by Nerd Industries

Mathias from Nerd Industries wrote in to tell us about their “Client Service Director Prototype” project. The Client Bot moves on a rail from one client logo the next, dusting each logo in sequence with a little brush. Mathias says:

We came up with the idea that it might be funny to build a robot holding a feather duster and constantly dusting the logos. We named the guy “our client service director” and started developing it.

The robot consists of an aluminum carriage. We put a multiphase motor inside and connected it to a robot arm. Also we attached an Arduino board to it as a controller and equipped it with a rechargeable battery pack. Everything has been mounted together with plastic screws to avoid conduction. The robot is powered through the rails.

The “feather duster” is actually a make up brush stolen from Christoph’s wife. You can see the general motion of the robot in the short clip below.

Client Service Director Prototype from Nerdindustries on Vimeo.

They’ve used a video of this charming robot to feature their client portfolio, and that’s where you can see it in its full glory.

The 2013 Bay Area Maker Faire in Pictures

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The 2013 Bay Area Maker Faire is a wrap— and it was amazing.  And we took pictures. We’ve uploaded 362 photos from maker faire right here for your browsing pleasure.   But first, a little preview.

 

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Kids play with giant cardboard robot arms at the Giant Cardboard Robots booth. As they say, “The revolution will be corrugated.”

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Glo-Puter Zero, by Alan Yates, with its phosphor-based memory. Truly a highlight of the show.

 

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Lenore shares a nerdy moment with Akiba from Freaklabs.

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An unusual LED badge, from the Bay Lights project.

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The Western Pyrotechnics Association is a club for people that make their own fireworks.  It’s incredible to see the complexity and artistry of the fireworks and the tooling that makes them.

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A beautiful hovercraft, designed to look like a flying DeLorean; you can see video of it on the project site.

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Back at our booth, the WaterColorBot was a constant hit.  Above, Sylvia shows visitors how to sketch with it in real time.

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An unexpected application: Our friend Bilal Ghalib stopped by and enlisted the WaterColorBot to help him make a birthday card for another friend.

 

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And one of our favorite moments of Maker Faire: a young visitor, tickled pink as she tries out the WaterColorBot, watching it paint a drawing that she had just sketched.

 

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A bicycle-powered cardboard walking rhino, by Kinetic Creatures, makers of walking cardboard robot kits, with Theo Jansen inspired walking mechanisms.

 

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Some of the creations are simpler, like this sidewalk-chalk wielding vibrobot, spinning on a tabletop chalkboard at the Exploratorium booth.

 

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Some of the creations are more technical, like the OpenPNP project to create open source pick and place machines for electronics assembly.  We’re excited by where this is headed, along with a few related projects.

 

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And of course, there’s no shortage of LED goodness.

Please click right here for the rest of our 2013 Bay Area Maker Faire photo album.