Category Archives: EMSL Projects

Spaceship Cockpit with a Larson Scanner

Larson Scanner in panel with lights going back and forth

Lee at Sawdust and Solder is building a kids spaceship cockpit and used a Larson Scanner for one panel.

I wanted to spread out the LEDs over a large arc to simulate the sweep of a radar screen. The idea was to make it a scanner to look for other ships, class-M planets, or whatever is required. So I decided to mount the LEDs on the acrylic panel and wire them back to the board. I also decided to use my own switches mounted to the panel rather than the ones supplied with the kit. I used my Shapeoko CNC to cut out the acrylic panel.

Back of panel assembled with Kitt

After I painted and weathered the acrylic panel, I engraved the text (again, with the CNC and a v-carving bit) and then assembled everything.

CNC carved and weathered panel

There’s a ton of documentation and some good tips in the post. Check out the other parts of the cockpit project Lee has posted, too!

Evil Mad Scientist Valentines: 2018

2018 valentines

Today we are releasing our newest set of “Download and Print” cards for Valentine’s day. This is our sixth year, and sixth 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. The 2016 set featured Pluto’s cold heart, and the perfect card for your robotic expression of love, and last year’s set featured atomic orbitals, exponential growth, and an epsilon delta declaration of love.

This year’s set features parallel lines, friction, and activation energy:

My love for you is at a stable equilibrium and therefore resistant to external perturbations

What could be more romantic than telling someone that the second derivative of your potential energy is at its minimum when you’re around them?

I'll Never be NP Complete Without You

The perfect card to give to any computer scientist when you want them to both (A) appreciate being given a valentine and (B) secretly wonder whether you don’t quite understand what np completeness means, or whether you do but thought it was funny.

Parallel lines never meet. But we should.

Parallel lines never meet. But we should.

It takes a special person to overcome my activation energy to send this card to you and ask if you will be my  valentine.

For when you have chemistry with someone.

Let's  measure our coefficient of kinetic friction

Why measure? Because it’s generally considered impolite to ask someone what their normal force is.


2018 valentines

You can download the full set here, which includes all 36 designs from all six years (a 1.6 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.

Using the WaterColorBot to teach programming

Water color painting titled Ocean Woman
JR has been volunteering in a high school programming class and wrote up a thoughtful post about his experiences using the WaterColorBot in the classroom. He wrote a Python library that allows users to directly control a WaterColorBot by writing Python code.

To be honest, this library is a pretty insane way to control the bot. It’s needlessly low-level: you’re manually controlling the brush’s position, you’ve got to remember to wash and re-ink the brush every so often, etc. If your main goal is to just get the bot to paint a pretty picture, there are lots of better ways to go about it.

As a teaching aid, though, it’s been a total success, because it lets students flex their burgeoning Python skills and actually make a real thing in the process! We’ve been blown away by the stuff our students have created.

He has also documented and shared his code on github.

AYAB v0.90 is here!

AYAB (all yarns are beautiful) Logo

The All Yarns Are Beautiful project has just released a new version of the AYAB software, v0.90!

It’s a bugfix-release, that means it fixes mostly known issues and no additional features are introduced. This is necessary to get more stability in the software and to have solid foundation for future developments.

If you’re using our AYAB Interface, we’d encourage you to upgrade. If you want to contribute to this project that brings new life to old Brother knitting machines, head over to the announcement to read more.

From the mailbag: Sciencey!

Dave wrote in about the EggBot:

My daughter wanted to tell you that she loves your creation. The other day she told me that she is more sciencey than girly, and I told her that she could be both. I have attached a picture of her with her first multi color print, Wonder Woman.

Thank you for sharing, and the egg turned out great!