Linkdump: February 2016

dictation machine

Evil Mad Scientist Valentines: 2016 Edition

2016 valentines

Today we are releasing our newest set of “Download and Print” cards for Valentine’s day. This is our fourth year, and fourth set of cards: The 2013 set had six equation-heavy cards, the 2014 set was a set of six symbol-heavy cards, and the 2015 set included love, hearts, and arrows.

This year’s set of six new cards features a note about warming Pluto’s cold heart, at least one embarrassingly bad pun, and the perfect card for your robotic expression of love.

Solve for x
“I was supposed to solve for x. So glad I found u instead.”

Pluto heart

And, from the distant reaches of our solar system:
“Just knowing you’re out there warms my heart.”


2016 valentines

You can download the full set here, which includes all 24 designs from all four years (a 1 MB PDF document).

As usual, print them out on (or otherwise affix to) card stock, personalize, and [some steps omitted] enjoy the resulting lifelong romance.

International RobotArt Competition

RobotArt logo with subtitle

We recently found out about the 2016 International RobotArt Competition for students to create art with paintbrush wielding robots and win prizes of up to $30,000 for their school.

For 2016, we focus on the technical side of creating art – the physical transition from raw color to applied color on a canvas. We challenge the participants to create artwork to showcase their robot’s abilities.

Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Entry

The team registration deadline is March 1st, and the competition is open to high school and college student teams. Artwork must be uploaded by April 15. (This sounds like a perfect challenge for schools that have a WaterColorBot.)

Public participation in the first round of judging is encouraged, and then the works will be judged by professional art critics on originality, aesthetics, painting capability, and technical contribution (e.g. sharing source code.)

We love art robots, so we’ll look forward to seeing the results of this competition.

Linkdump: January 2016

Image: Chipworks, via iFixit

EggBots in Library Makerspaces

The New Sarepta Library in Alberta, Canada posted this video on twitter saying:

Our new EggBot is up and running! Come check it out!

We’re super happy to see libraries including our tools in their makerspaces.

From the mailbag: Bristlebots and Scribblebots

Kate K.'s Bristlebot bug (Courtesy of Jessica K.)

Jessica K. wrote in:

A few years ago I used your bristlebot design for one of my kid’s classes as a project and it was such a success I’ve done it for each kid (I have 4).

Kate K's Bristlebot Ladybug bottom (Courtesy of Jessica K.)

We also made made “pontoon” versions of your bristlebots with 2 toothbrush ends underneath a cardboard oval so it looked like a beetle and gave the kids more decorating space.

Scribblebot parts (Courtesy of Jessica K.)

Well, now I needed a new project and I came up with the easiest, cheapest Scribblebot I’ve come across, using mostly your bristlebot construction.

Kate K.'s Dixie Scribblebot (Courtesy of Jessica K.)

The big discovery is that a Dixie cup plus mini markers keeps the whole thing so lightweight. Then put your foam taped pager motor and battery combo on top. It was also way cuter with some antennae and googley eyes. Thank you again for your great bristlebot – it’s made me the most popular mom in each of my kids’ classes.

The bots shown were made by her daughter Kate who also demonstrates them in the video clips. Thank you Kate & Jessica!

Epic Cylon costume with Larson Scanner

By Warren Goodwin

Warren wrote in on Facebook:

I just received your Larson scanner for my Foam Cylon helmet today … I have since this video diffused the light inside the clear conduit pipe the LEDS are held inside of to make the LED effect a bit more smoother.

He has been posting updates of the costume on facebook.

Cylon costume with Larson Scanner eye
By Warren Goodwin

Linkdump: December 2015

Stippled Utah Teapot


A Utah Teapot is an ideal design for a geeky ornament. For this one, I generated a vector stipple drawing from a photograph of the source object for this digital design icon. There are certainly many other ways to create a Utah Teapot ornament, including, of course, 3D printing.

utah contrasty

In this case, I took our photo of our teapot, adjusted it to give it slightly higher contrast, and loaded it into StippleGen 2.


I removed any background stipples and plotted it on an ornament. The ornament is 2.6 inches in diameter and I used a 0.2 tip Copic Multiliner SP. I have posted the design on thingiverse.