Trek to Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories

I’ve been a huge fan of EMSL for quite some time now, and my recent field trip proved that it has earned the name Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories for a good reason. For instance, look at the reflection in the glass near the bottom and you’ll glimpse the hearse that [Lenore] and [Windell] have sitting in front of the shop. But stop at the threshold, inside there are delights that ate up a couple of hours without me even noticing. And they thought they were going to get work done that day.

Don’t judge me by my appearance. This is late afternoon on a summer Saturday in Sunnyvale. Why does that matter? Obviously summer Saturdays in Silicon Valley always start with the Electronics Swap Meet and Engineer’s breakfast! That was a ton of fun but if you’re doing it right it’s also a bit tiring. No worries, a shot of excitement came over me as soon as I walked in that front door.

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Spherebot: Decorating Xmas Baubles

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The Spherebot is an open source machine capable of printing designs onto spherical objects, such as Xmas baubles!

The design is based on the ever-popular Egg-Bot, which we have seen derived into many other useful printers such as the Mug Plotter, and the Ping Pong Printer.

The Spherebot features two stepper motors, one servo motor for marker actuation, some cheap mounting hardware, and a whole bunch of 3D printed parts—all of which are available on Thingiverse. In this design they used a 3D printer controller board called the 3Drag by Open-Electronics, which is based on the ATmega2560 (the same microcontroller as the Arduino MEGA). The Spherebot doesn’t require all three axes or an extruder, so they only installed 2 out of the 4 stepper drivers on the board to save cost.

Once you have it all built, it’s a simple matter of uploading your design into the free Spherebot-Host-GUI provided on GitHub. Stick around after the break to see just what it is capable of!

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CNC ping pong printer uses simple construction

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This is one of the simplest CNC builds we’ve seen but it still functions quite well. It’s a clone of the EggBot, but is aimed at printing on spherical Ping Pong balls rather than oblong eggs. [Chad] calls it the Spherebot, but you should be careful not to confuse it with the morphing sphere robot which can walk around like a hexapod.

The project is both mechanically and electronically simple. The body of the printer is made up of three acrylic plates, which we’re sure were clamped together when drilling holes to guarantee proper alignment. Threaded rod and nuts are used to mount the plates to one another, as well as to hold the sphere in place while printing. One stepper motor turns the ball while the other pivots the pen mount. A servo motor is responsible for lifting the pen. The entire thing is driven by an Arduino along with two stepper motor driver boards. Don’t miss [Chad’s] presentation embedded after the break.

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Mug Plotter based on the Egg-Bot

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Here’s a fun way to break up the monotony in the old cubicle farm. The Mug Plotter will let you expertly inscribe your coffee vessel with a different witty saying or design for each day of the week. If it looks familiar that’s because it’s loosely based on the non-flat drawing robot, the Egg-Bot.

[Teed] built the machine using laser cut plywood parts. He starts off the build description with the griping technique. There are two parts to this, one is concave and fits in the mouth of the mug. The convex side grips the bottom edges of it. These parts go on the frame along with the slide and thread rods which hold the stylus. A servo motor is along for the ride, providing the ability to lift the marker when necessary.

You can see in the clip after the break that there’s a bit of oscillation in the rig when one of the steppers starts turning really fast. But it doesn’t seem to affect the look of the design very much at all.

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