Arch Flotilla

My Pimoroni Flotilla kit arrived today, and I didn’t have a Raspberry Pi left in workable condition. So, I looked for a set-up that would allow me not to use one. I found a write-up on using Ubuntu and that was hugely useful.

I already had git, so I hit

git clone

in my build area. The daemon is the non-GUI backing that does the hard work of talking to the USB device. It comes without all the dependencies, though. The first one, mentioned in the Ubuntu guide, is libserial. That’s in the AUR. I already had autoconf and libtool. As it happened, I didn’t need to make libserial. This is fortunate, as I found out before I looked in the AUR that pushd was not going to play nicely and I had no idea what that meant.

I also needed libserialport-git from the AUR and websocketpp from the standard repository. I found this out when the makefile borked, and each time there wasn’t a required dependency, I just found it. More than that, I needed to take out the version number in the Makefile. CC = g++-4.9 is probably not allowed because it’s not pure GCC. So, I replaced it with CC = g++ and that worked fine. I swapped OBJECT and LDFLAGS as per the Ubuntu instructions, although I don’t know if that made a difference.

Then I downloaded Rockpool, the interface.

git clone

That should have run nicely with cd flotilla-offline/rockpool && python but as it happens I have python3 so I made it explicit: python2 and then I was done. Remember to click on Connect rather than waiting politely for the bar to load. You’re acting as a server on the USB connection, so although the address looks like the default, it is and it should be.

Fixing my knife

The rubber had perished on the sides of my pocket knife, so I cleaned it out. The original rubber came out with just a fingernail embedded in it, and the same fingernail served to clean out most of the glue. I cut leather to size with a scalpel and glued it in, smooth side down. Then I shaved off everything that stood up. It’s matted down a bit, which is not hugely pleasant to look at, but it’s comfy to hold, and I think it’ll wear to my hand eventually. If not, I can always rip it out and start again.

Itchy – now we’re committed

I bought a single piece of V slot in the right shape for the gantry I want. It’ll work for lightweight stuff. I also bought the things I think I need for the gantry build, except for what I can make. I’d like to try making oldham connectors at some point, for interest’s sake. The flexible shaft to shaft connection was much cheaper than any I could find on eBay, though.

I used ooznest, which was the cheapest V rail supplier in the UK – just about the only one I could find, in fact – and padded out a lot of the build with items from eBay. I’m going to machine my own head including mountings, but I know why it needs to be what shape it needs to be, so I can live with that.

I modelled it up in Onshape, as the very basic blocks of what I wanted to make, using cuboids instead of profile sketches, so I knew what had to go where. That-one-engineer-with-the-beard showed me how he had handled the box that held his couplings, and I’ll probably go with square section stuff to hold other stuff together.

Technical terms, there.

Fixing a glue bottle

The gorilla glue at Makespace has lost its cap. I took off the top to find out why it wasn’t squeezing, and found there was a perfect cast of the cap inside, and then a layer of half-set glue that was not letting anything fresh past.

I cut off a bit of steel from our stock, that’s about the right diameter, and I used a hammer to flare the ends. (Tap relatively gently, but with a stroke that goes outwards and down from the centre, going round slowly. You’ll end up with something that looks a bit like a pathetic nail.)

I expect this to last about a day before someone gums up everything.