Why build a CNC mill when you can have a chess robot instead?

[Patrick McCabe] enjoys the challenge of playing chess against the computer but he wasn’t satisfied with the flat experience of on-screen gaming. No problem, he just built his own gantry-style chess robot that he can play against. Don’t be confused, he still doesn’t have to touch the pieces, but instead uses the dedicated control board seen on the left of the image above. The robotic arm that is mounted on a gantry takes care of moves for both players.

It’s a pretty normal CNC build, using four stepper motors to slide the moving bits along precision rod. An Arduino Mega drives the system, with a PC doing the heavy lifting using a program called My Robot Lab.

We certainly like it that [Patrick] spent a little bit of time making the cabinet and visible parts look nice. Chess is a civilized game and unfinished parts would be out-of-place. We didn’t see it in his writeup, but the one feature we’re really hoping he has implemented is the ability to have the robot automatically reset the board at the beginning of a game.

As you might have guess, you’ll find embedded video after the break.

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Bring the crane game home

Everyone’s familiar with the quarter gobbling crane games. More often than not there’s a child nearby begging a parent for more quarters so they can try their hand at the toy-snatching claw. [Marc.Cryan] put his quarters to a better use by building a home version of the crane game.

[Marc] installed a gantry in an archway of his house.  The crane trolley rides on this gantry and uses a spool to raise or lower the tether for the claw. Winning copious style-points, he used the case of an old mouse to form the claw. An Arduino controls the different motors in the system and a toy was repurposed to act as the controller. As you can see after the break, it’s more fun than the cinema-lobby version of the game and your kids can play with it for free.

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Radio Assisted Drawing Device


An exhibition just wrapping up at the Russian Frost Farmers Gallery in New Zealand presented an interactive artwork hack. Called the Radio Assisted Drawing Device (R.A.D.D), it is a plotter that mounts on the wall. It isn’t computer controlled, but rather relies on a remote control with two sticks to move the plotter Etch-a-Sketch style.

A clear gantry mounts vertically and travels along the top edge of the wooden backing. A slot cut in the acrylic steadies the plotter and allows for smooth vertical movement. Obviously built by hand, the mechanics seem to have tight tolerances for precise movements of the stylus. See the exhibit in the video after the break.

Wouldn’t you love to have one of these on the wall at your next party? It adds a whole new spin on a guest book.

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CNC used to make 3D video using one camera


[Gabriel] is making 3D movies using only one camera. This should be impossible because true 3D needs to be stereoscopic, with images from different perspectives for each eye. He’s worked this out by mounting the camera on a CNC gantry and programming it to make two passes along slightly different paths. He’s plotting the camera paths using SketchUp and a plugin that exports paths as CamBam files, automatically adjusting for perspective. The two videos are then merged using Stereo Movie Maker.

We’ve embedded both a 3D video as well as behind-the-scenes filming video after the break but you’ll need the red and blue 3D glasses to view the former. It’s not too much of a stretch to tweak his methods and use this for stopped motion video where one button press takes a frame for each eye. Now, who will be the first to bring us a Star Wars remake filmed in stopped-motion 3D using the original action figures? Continue reading “CNC used to make 3D video using one camera”