Giant Spirograph Delights Children, Dwarfs Banana

giant spirographLate last year at a craft show, [hahabird] and a friend came across a laser-cut Spirograph and they both had a go at it. After mocking his friend’s lack of fine motor skills, [hahabird] was struck with the idea of making a giant-scale Spirograph that would (hopefully) be less frustrating for kids of all ages.

He generated the gears using an InkScape plugin, and then moved the project to Illustrator for adjustments. After nesting the inner gear drawings, he was able to print them out on one 3×3′ piece of paper at the local FedEx-Kinko’s. To make a template for routing he pieces that make up the eight-foot diameter outer ring, [hahabird] first cut it out of MDF and then bolted that to plywood. The outer ring’s size was dictated by the number of sections that fit on a 4×8 piece of plywood.

The challenge of the inner cogs was to make them move smoothly and still mesh with the teeth of the outer ring. [hahabird] solved this by mounting casters on raised platforms, which double nicely as handles. Each inner cog has a series of PVC couplers that take the 1″ PVC chalk holder insert.

So far, [hahabird] has cut 22-, 35-, and 44-tooth cogs, all of which are painted in nice, bright colors. According to his reddit comments, he will have a video or gif of it in a few days. We hope he makes the plus sign cog and the tongue depressor piece, too.

Street Art Bot

Street Art Bot

For the Deconstruction decentralized hackathon, “The FABricators” from Fab Lab Tulsa built a Street Art Bot. The robot drives around and dispenses liquid chalk in a pattern to make sidewalk art.

The FABricators’ robot is based on an electric wheelchair platform. Attached to the base is the hardware for dispensing chalk, which is controlled over wifi. The operator drives the robot around the area to chalk, and chalk is deposited in the right pattern.

In order to ensure the art is chalked correctly, the robot’s software needs to know where the robot is at all times. This is done using a camera mounted above the area and a fiduciary marker that localizes the robot. The tracking is done using the reacTIVision library.

The robot was built to be expandable, and in the future they want to add multiple colors, or even multiple robots printing simultaneously.  After the break, check out a video overview of the project.

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