Itchy: Victory

A block of wood with a distorted silver circle drawn on itLast night I put everything together. The tool chain is now clear. I learned what ‘tool chain’ means from Co-Squidly. It was a word I knew but had never really respected, and now I do. So, here’s the flow:

  • Generate paths in Inkscape
  • Inkscape -> Extensions -> GCodeTool -> Path to GCode
  • Clean Gcode – inkscape uses (comments like this) and gcode needs ;comments like this
  • Import to bCNC (python GUI to send gCode)
  • Send to Arduino
  • Magic happens. Stuff moves!

The silver circle on the wood above was drawn in inkscape and sent to the machine where it was drawn with a Sharpie. I’ve built a machine. I declared tea and victory, and went home.

My friends have nicknamed it wobblebot. This is not unfair. It needs a lot of work, but it’s what I was after.

Itchy: current task list

Minimal task list to have a working plotter machine that doesn’t tear itself apart

  • Make all screw-driven axes have drive that’s at the same level as the drive screw. Looking at you, Y axis.
  • Metal X axis termination for motor mount, including lower brace
  • Extend and route wiring through cable track (motors and limit switches)
  • Build platen for flat things to sit on while the head moves
  • Y axis anti-backlash nut
  • Take up slack on X axis belt
  • Duct tape Sharpie to machine head

I can dodge some of these things. I don’t need to rebuild the motor mount unless it starts to fall apart. I could move the limits of the machine away from the Y axis motor. But, to make it be the version 1 that I want, it needs to have those things done.

Itchy: leaps and bounces

All of Itchy’s parts work individually, and Co-squid found a tool chain that will drive the Arduino from output from Inkscape. Inkscape has gcode extensions. Of course it has. So now, I just have to put it together. The machine went from jerky, jumpy bouncing to having some smoothness of movement today.

Co-squid goes back to her house soon, and I’m going to have to work out where to put what I am calling Itchy and she is calling Murderbot. Given the fragment of scalpel I found in the second hand parts, I think it already was a cutter. I’m going to find some way of keeping that bit of scalpel in there.