Well October could not get any better I have been one of the lucky 10 to be selected for the TI and Würth Elektronik LED RoadTest+ and when i applied i had a lot of ideas but i realized that if i want to be accepted for future roadtest and reviews i really need to produce clear high quality content and one of the key things for good photography and video is a well lit area. So seeing as the key focus for the road test is the TPS92512 i thought why not set up a little area with high power LED`s illuminating the full area from all angles, first i will set up a temporary rig so i can work out all of the technical issues and because i have limited space i would like to make the final product ether collapsible into as small as possible size or make it completely portable including being battery powered for filming on the go maybe using some old laptop batteries i have laying about.
To start with i am aiming for an area of about 80cm x 60cm which is the size of a foldable table that i will be able to use and i would like to use at least 2 cameras (one for top down view and one movable) but it would also be nice to have a infra red cam for alternative views of things and also set up a simple one button stop motion rig for my kids to use with their models and cutouts, the last thing that would be nice to add would be some kind of bullet time .
So there it is the main idea for this road test i have a few other things i would like to try but as always time is always a factor and I would rather build one good thing instead of 10 half finished ones and to all the other Roadtesters good luck and have fun I can`t wait to see what you all build all the best Mick
I got asked by a friend one day to help refurb a set of 4 bubble lamps which only glowed white so i happily accepted and this is how we went about it. I wish i had taken more picture at the time but this is all i have below but i will try and describe what we did to pimp these lights.
First problem i seen was that the power system was really bad because the bubble lamps where basically shop bought 240VAC lamps bodged into a limo, somone in all their original genius thought they would use a 150W inverter to boost the 12VDC car battery up to 240VAC and then plugged in the wall adapter which dropped it back 12VAC for the aquarium pump and lamp. so in an attempt to increase safety and efficiency i made a quick 555 IC circuit tuned to around 50hz which worked like a charm pumping the bubbles. The RGB LEDs where controlled by an atmega8 that just run a couple of loops and had some beefy Mosfets connected to allow them to control a lot of lights at any one time but less talk more pictures.
A quick pic of the bubble lamp in a sorry state before we set to work on it
The eagle CAD drawing of the top and bottom circuit for the RGB Lights
Top View of PCB with 6 x 78XX voltage regulator circuits and 4 x RGB light controllers attached
Side View of PCB which was made using positive photo resist and UV lamp
Top View of finished PCB which was cut out using a bench scroll saw
Well Some good news i have been lucky enough to be given a free MediaTek LinkIt™ ONE Development Platform worth £38 for free no strings attached from Instructables.com in partnership with MediaTek. I know i said no strings but they would like me to post a few instructables showing how good the Dev Board is which is only fair but thats not all for every instructable i post i will receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card (about £32) so i am planning on working hard on this one which i hope will lead to a lot more offers to review more great product like this one.
Ok what is it and what can it do? Well from what i have read so far it seams to be aimed at the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearables market and they have done a great job packing a ton of feature into the one board. For starters you get wireless technology coming out of the wazzoo with onboard Bluetooth 2.1 and 4.0, 802.11 b/g/n Wifi, GSM QuadBand and GPRS Class 12 not to mention you also have GPS/GLONASS/BeiDou, SD Card (upto 32Gb), 16Mb of onboard flash (10Mb user accessable) and 4Mb of ram (upto 2Mb for program execution) all tied together with a MT2502A (Aster) ARM7 EJ-S™ 260MHz processor which is not bad plus from what i can tell you also get a rechargeable battery in the box to power this little power house.
As soon as i get the board i will post an unboxing video and a quick run though of all the cool things that this great board comes with but for now you can read more here. Hopefully this will be the beginning of a long line of products company’s will send me to review and road test because i love playing with these great toys and i hope to share my adventures with you all.
Until next post Keep on hacking the world and if you have any ideas on what to build with this great board please let me know in the comments and i will see what i can do.
As soon as i seen a video of people racing a couple of quadcopters using First Person View (FPV) kits which allow the to fly the quad as if they where sat inside it i knew i needed to get me one. But there was no way i could afford £500-£1000 for a ready made one and where is the fun in getting something ready made.
So i first set out to find what the minimum amount of parts i would need to get started, the main bones of a quad are Frame, 4x Brushless Motors, 4x Propellers, 4x Electronic Speed Controllers (ESC) , Flight Controller, Transmitter/Recevier and battery’s. At first i thought this lot would cost a small fortune until i hit ebay and found i could get
F450 Quad-copter Frame Kit ,£7.09
4x A2212 1000Kv Motors + 4x 10×45 Propellers ,£20.29
4x Brushless speed controller ESC 30A 40A Burst ,£14.19
CC3D Openpilot Open Source Flight Controller 32 Bit ,£9.24
Turnigy 6X FHSS 2.4ghz Transmitter and Receiver ,£19.14 from hobby king
11.1V 2200mAh Lipo Battery ,£8.46
Which is very cheap but still a bit much for me and the cheapest transmitter/receiver kit was a bit limited for what i wanted to do. I worked out i could build a frame from bits i have laying about also i could use old laptop battery’s while i getting it working and i am currently working on something that is using a transceiver that has a line of sight range of up to 15KM so why not build my own transmitter/receiver using them with a couple of arduino pro mini`s and a couple of RC joysticks i have laid about from a joblot i bought on ebay a few years ago. So now the cost of getting started is down to £43.72 + a bit more work but once again thats part of the fun
Now i had a few hours spare this weekend and i just wanted to get motors turning so i sat down with some blu-tack and PVC tape and stuck everything to the side of my pc that has been off so i could clean inside it and this is what i ended up with below.
The CC3D Flight Controller is open source and come with some excellent software to help you configure it
The open pilot software is also a full ground control station with many features which i will discuse later
The is my basic Transmitter/Receiver emulator set up wired direct to the flight controller to allow me to test the motors
I used a full size arduino to allow easy connection to the flight controller and choose to use PWM to control the motors
The CC3D controller is an excellent bit of kit, the reason i choose it over the KK and APM was that it is running a 32bit microcontroller and it was a lot cheaper than the APM.
The Blue LED flashes at different speeds and patterns to indicate what it is doing.
For testing i set up 2x 5A buck/boost convertors powered by a 24v 10A PSU to power the motors which also allows me so see what kind of power the quad will require.
This is the cheapest ESC i could find on ebay and i am currently using it with the stock firmware but because almost all the cheap ESC`s use a ATmega328 to control them i should be able to upgrade the firmware to the ubiquitous Simon K firmware.
This is the test of the controls
and a quick test of the Gyro, Accelerometer and Compass
This build was my first attempt at a 3 Axis CNC and at the time i knew very little about them and because of this i made lots of mistakes. The biggest mistake was that the Astrosyn y129-5 12v 0.16A Nema 17 stepper motors where really under powered but i still managed to get the machine to engrave the road runner that came with mach 3 CNC software.
The Stepper controller is the Tachus42 3 Channel Discrete Unipolar from PMINMO.com which i built using the instructions on the site and only cost £12 for the parts. The Tachus42 it a good simple controller to start with and because of its simplicity if you let the magic smoke out it can be fairly easy to fix. As with many simple things they lack the more advanced features such as micro stepping and current control, so if you wanted to increase the voltage to the motors above their rated voltage you had to use resistors to dump the extra power which is very wasteful and also very quickly needed very high wattage resistors or build the additional chopper board but this has been known to come with its own set of problems that can be difficult for beginners like my self at the time.
The wood i used was from an old TV cabinet that my next door neighbour was chucking out and i purchased a few drawer slides from ebay i also purchase some 6mm all thread rod from ebay which was another mistake, threaded rod that small just really sucks for a make shift lead screw. i used a cheap dremel type rotary tool as the spindle which worked well when the machine wanted to work.
I learnt a lot from building this machine and although it did not work very well it only fuelled my thirst for a well built CNC so i set about reading everything i could about CNC Machines and started planing my next build Big Red
Big Red 2.0 with perspex sides, MDF Spoilboard and full aluminium construction with the Y Axis linear bearings upgraded to fully supported rails.
The beginning of a quick test of the machine using a pencil to draw Sweet Dreams with a heart ether side which i plan to engrave in some perspex and side light with a few RGB LEDS.
End of test
I`ll add descriptions to the pics soon but basically the little black block is a 1.4w 445nm laser diode that can be pulse at 2w and i have added a vacuum system and the thing with the copper wire wrapped round next to the router is a small camera to help with alignment of the tool. i still need to get the aluminium plate for the front, back, part of the Y- Axis and all the parts for the Z-Axis milled but for now the Big Red has no problem cutting wood and plastic.
i am currently running the motors at 24v 4A but i have still to fit a couple of boost converts to kick the voltage up to the max the drivers can comfortably handle of 40v 4A which will help increase the speed. i have already had the Y Axis running at 3500 mm/sec which is about 137 IPM but for testing i have been running at between 500-1000 mm/sec 19-39 IPM to make sure i dont kill it with one wrong move.
Isometeric view of CAD model with the perspex sides and MDF spoil board
Right view of CAD model
Isometeric view of CAD model
Front view of CAD model
Back view of CAD model
45×45 Extrusion Gantry on Big Red V1 for scale.
45×45 Extrusion Gantry on Big Red V1 from the front for scale.
960w 24v PSU worth over £500 that i picked up for £30 on ebay int the small hours of the morning
I have now added fans and covers to keep the driver cool
USB keypad used to control the machine until i build something better
i placed some magnets on the back to allow me to stick it to stuff
1.4W 445nm Laser which can be mounted to enable laser etching and cutting of thin materials
dust guard and vacuum system
the copper was temp holder while i aligned the camera
An old bagless hoover is being used for dust collection for now but i will be making a cyclone dust seperator at some point.
An old TV bracket with a shower rail bolted on so the vacuum pipe can move with the CNC
The Super PID router speed controller is now mounted in a nice abs case and all the cables are now run to allow control of it from mach3
Here is a little about what i plan to accomplish with this machine. I am hoping to end up with a 5 Axis CNC machine that i can change the head to a 3d printer head and have a cutting area of about 1300mm x 1000mm x 240mm.
i will first build a 3 Axis Gantry CNC with hand cut 18mm MDF and then use that machine to cut better quality parts in the hope that a can start to machine aluminium. Then if all goes to plan start making aluminium frame work and build it up to a 5 Axis CNC.
One that is phase is complete i will move onto building the stand along control panel and motion controller using a combo of AVR, Ardunio and TI Stellaris Arm Micro controllers which i hope to use to make a closed loop system using some AS5048A magnetic rotary encoders on each stepper motor shaft. From there i will start work on accessories like auto tool changers, 3D digitizers and all the other fun stuff.
i am still looking for any other parts people could donate like sheets of Plastics ie delrin, hdpe or aluminium that would be great even old machines that i can salvage buttons, electrical and mechanical parts from would be great.
The geek will inherit the earth. 🙂
All the electrical and mechanical parts 2x 1320mm LG Hiwin 20mm rails and blocks for the X axis, 2x 240mm EG Hiwin 25mm rails and blocks for the Z axis, 2x 1000mm round carbon steel rails bearing and clamps for the Y axis and 4x 16×4 trapezoidal lead screw 2x 1450mm 1x 1150mm 1x 500mm.
i`m using an old AMD sempron 2800+ board with 1GB ram and 2nd PCI Parallel port for extra I/O`s
4 heavy duty limit switches for the X Y axis i will need some more for the Z but i might use some micro switches, hall sensors or IR interrupters because i will need things to be compact to make it easier to up grade to 5 Axis
4 TB6600 drivers i have removed them from the heat sinks and join all the sinks using aluminium tape and added fans for extra cooling because they will be running at 24v 4A which is close to their 5A max
Top of heatsinks
i`m going to remove the trim potentiometer use for controling the current limiter and the dip switches used for setting the micro stepping and replace them with a AD5206 digital Potentiometer and digital switches controlled by an arduino so that later on i can if needed via the motion controller i am building using a Stellaris LMF4 120XL ARM controller
I got this vicor 3x 24v 8.3A 200w PSU for a steal on ebay it sells new for £300 i got it for £30 delivered. Because it has load sense on each output i am going to parallel the outputs to give me 1 24v 24.9A 600w rail which should power all four 4A stepper motors and maybe the 2 smaller motors i will use for the 4th and 5th axis i plan to add later.
These dual shaft stepper motors are 200 step beasts with holding torque of 4NM / 566 ozin i will be using 2 for the gantry X axis to make sure there is plenty of power for cutting the big jobs.
i got 2 different break out boards just to see which is better and i found a problem with the one on the left for some reason the opto isolators dropped the voltage to low for the driver board to see a logic high it could be possible that this happens because the drivers also have isolators on but i will look into that later.
The 400w ATX PSU will supply the mainboard, all the 3.3v, 5v logic power and also the 12v fans. the 160GB harddisk is a bit over kill for linux cnc but its all i had spare.
it was going to cost £9 for each lead screw nut and i was going to need at least 4 but i really wanted to use 6 so i bought a length of Delrin and a 16×4 Tap to make my own for £45 which was a bargin.
The smaller Hiwin rails are perfect for the z axis
Tap and matching leadscrew 16×4
cant wait to get these installed
maybe i will get 2 extra blocks for the x axis when i can afford them
PC PSU and shaft couplers
Motherboard and vicor PSU
Motor Drivers and Fans
A new TB6600 Stepper Motor Driver
First modification i have done is to de-solder the connectors and refit them vertically so i can mount them side by side i still need to replace the pot and dip switches but that will be done after the machine is built
All 4 drivers mounted on the heat sink with some nice new Arctic Ceramique 2 thermal compound in stead of the nasty cheap silicon paste that is used by the manufacturer.
i will be adding 2 or 3 LM35 sensors to the heat sinks and using the built in tachometers i should be able to use PID to keep things cool but for now i will just run them at 75% power to keep everything nice and cool
Side view of motor drivers
all 4 heat sinks joined using aluminium tape which is surprisingly strong. i might at some point try some epoxy to join them or if the heat transfer of the epoxy is low maybe try brazing them together.
i`ve add mounts for the motors, 2 clamps for the spindle motor and a matrix of boxes on the cutting bed to add strength and for mounting a sacrificial MDF sheet. also i have managed to get the shaft supports and other things to show in the rendering with a nice science lab background to give some idea of scale
Front of machine
Side of machine
Rear of machine
i`ve lengthened the cutting bed so it over hangs to compensate for the distance the spindle is from the center of the gantry.
My new Bosch POF 500 A Router that i picked up second hand for a tenner and its had very little use. It will be a great starting milling head for the machine. All i need to build for it is a PID Pulse Width Modulation speed controller because the 27,000RPM it runs at is far to fast for most materials other than wood.
Getting ready to glue the printouts of Z Axis parts to the MDF
First ruff cuts
end of a bloody hot day but one step closer to my machine coming to life. 🙂
Almost finished the Z-Axis it still need a bit of sanding to make sure every thing fits flush but it only needs to good enough so that the machine will be able to cut more accurate parts for the final build.
The sides slot into the back plate and hold together even without glue or screws. I plan on making all parts slot together for the final build to help add to the overall machine rigidity.
Pillar drills are an essential tool for any workshop, with out mine all these holes would have been a total nightmare to get straight.
i`m starting to get an idea of the overall size of the machine and i got the Z-Axis attached to the Y-Axis today once i fit the Z bearings the rest of the machine will be plain sailing until i have to add all the electrics.
I`m thinking of adding some plastic sheathing to the rails to protect them from sawdust getting into the bearings or bicycle inner tube.
Nice and close
Finally all the wooden parts have been cut and well ahead of schedule the only problem is it has turned out a little bigger than i pictured in my head.
Y Axis Gantry
Still need to cut holes
The Z Axis is the most complex part of the machine.
The 25mm Hiwin bearings work a treat they are only preloaded to Z0 but you can see no movement.
A quick test of the 20mm steel shafts and kinear bearings, they are slightly misaligined but stil work well.
Lots of hot glue to hold the delrin nut in place
i had fun grinding the screw down so it would fit in the coupling.
the screws with hot glue on will be use for the limit switches
1 complete Z Axis it is strong enough for my daughter to stand on while it moves.
Because it is much bigger than a normal case i can install all the electronics in the one case
This is an old PC case i found in a skip about 6 years ago i knew i would find a use for it
its hard to see from this pic but the vicor power supply for the motors is install on the side of the drive bay.
i have managed to tuck the Hard drive out the way in the back of the case
Many lesser women would murder their husband if their front room looked like this. Love you my beautiful lady.
This all happened due to the fact that the first motherboard i was using thought it would funny to crap out once i fitted most of the electronics in the case. Fault finding is so much fun, it also turned out that one
4 Ammeters 1 for each of the motors so i can keep track of each axis power usage with out having to break out the multi meter.
4 screw in 8 pin sockets for the motor cables
Every thing back in the case i still need to play about with wire routing so data and power cable do not cross but everything seams to be working ok for now.
Ammeters all powered up and testing 1 axis at half power. i still need to add a power switch for the vicor power supply and the motor drivers fans plus lots of indication leds.
Quick and dirty router clamps
Finally got the Z-Axis Mounted and the Y-Axis leadscrews fitted
Quick picture with my 13 year old son next to the machine to give some sense of scale.
All of the motors are now fitted
Just need to fit the limit and home switches, then route the cables to prevent strain on them when the machine is moving.
I have finally got round to start building the rest of the tools needed for my electronics workshop. I built this Resistor Substitution Box using 6 x 12 Pole Rotary Switches, 6 x Chicken Head Knobs, 1% 1 Watt Metal Film Resistors, 2 x Banana Sockets and some old thick coax cable for connecting the switches together because of its low resistance. Total Cost £7.19 Total Resistance at 0 = 0.3 ohms all the the way up to 999,999 ohms in 1 ohm increments. I am thinking of building another one and a module to connect them together as a potential divider but i might just add a 10k ohm 10 turn potentiometer and and extra socket to the box for that function.