Roboceratops: A Robot Dinosaur That Defies Extinction

roboceratopsInspired by a childhood love of dinosaurs, [Robert] set out to build a robotic dinosaur from the Ceratopsian family. After about a year of design, building, and coding, he has sent us a video of Roboceratops moving around gracefully, chomping a rope, and smoothly wagging his tail.

Roboceratops is made from laser-cut MDF and aluminium bars in the legs. That’s not cookie dough on those legs, it’s upholstery foam, and we love the way [Robert] has shaped it. Roboceratops has servos in his jaw, neck, tail, and legs for a total of 14-DOF. You can see the servo specifics and more in the video description. [Robert] has full kinematic control of him through a custom controller and is working to achieve total quadrupedal locomotion.

Inside that custom controller is an Arduino Mega 2560, an LCD, and two 3-axis analog joysticks that control translation, height, yaw, pitch, and jaw articulation. For now, Roboceratops receives power and serial control through a tether, but [Robert] plans to add an on-board µC for autonomous movement as well as wireless, a battery, an IMU, and perhaps some pressure/contact detection in his feet.

The cherry on top of this build is the matching, latching custom carry case that has drawers to hold the controller, power supply, cable, tools, and spare parts. Check out Roboceratops after the break.

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A Huge, Lightweight Wooden Quadrotor


[Robert] once built a quadcopter frame by sawing laminate floor tile. It worked, we’re taking the lack of pictures of this build as evidence of how ugly it was. His latest design used a much better looking material – laser cut plywood – and the finished product is very strong and lightweight, even compared to commercial frames made with glass or carbon fiber and epoxy.

Although the design went smoothly thanks to some Solidworks skills, actually cutting the frame from 3mm birch ply resulted in a few issues. The cheap laser cutter used for cutting include some bottom of the line software called LaserWorksV5. There is a kerf compensation feature, called ‘sew compensation’ in the software’s native Chinglish. The software would always crash whenever it tried to calculate the compensation for circles. [Robert] spent two hours figuring this problem out, and in the end needed to break out a piece of sand paper to get a nice interlocking fit.

The completed frame bolts together without any glue at all, and the best part about it is the weight – only 167 grams. Compare that to a similarly sized glass fiber frame, and [Robert]’s shaved at least 200 grams off his finished build.

Vibe Mirror


We love a good art-related project here at Hackaday, and [Wolfgang’s] vibrating mirror prototype is worth a look: into its distorting, reflective surface, of course.

[Wolfgang] began by laser cutting nine 1″ circles from an 8″ square mirror, then super glued a 1/4″ neoprene sheet to the back of the square, covering the holes. Each circular cutout received some custom acrylic backings, glued in place with a short piece of piano wire sticking out of the center. The resulting assemblage pushes through the neoprene backing like a giant thumbtack, thus holding all nine circular mirrors in place without restricting movement. The back end of the piano wire connects to yet another piece of acrylic, which is glued to a tiny vibrating motor.

He uses some shift registers and an Arduino Uno to control the motors, and although there’s no source code to glance it, we’re guessing [Wolfgang] simply designed the nine mirrors to buzz about in different patterns and create visually interesting compositions. Check out a quick video of the final effect after the break, and if you can help [Wolfgang] out with a name for his device, hit us up with your suggestions in the comments.

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Laser cut Arc Reactor replica


We’re starting to become a repository for Arc Reactor replica projects. The one shown above uses mostly laser cut components. We missed it back in May when [Valentin Ameres] tipped us off the first time. But he sent it in again after seeing the 3D printed version earlier this month.

Our biggest gripe is that we don’t have our own laser cutter to try this out on. Everything has been cut from 2mm thick acrylic. The black, silver, and copper colored components were painted to achieve this look. Many of the clear parts also had a dot matrix etched into them to help with light diffusion.

Basic assembly just required the parts be glued together. The finishing touches include wire-wrapping the slots of the outer ring and adding LEDs and current limiting resistors.

The plans are not freely available, but the 3D printed version linked above doubles as a 123D tutorial. That should help get you up to speed designing your own if you are lucky enough to have time on laser cutter.

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Centerpieces for a geeky wedding

[Bill Porter] is a married man now, and evidently his new wife, [Mara], is awesome. They put together one of the geekiest weddings that included custom side-lit LED centerpieces.

Instead of laser engraving the dozens of plastic panels for each centerpiece, [Bill] tricked [Mara]’s Silhouette Cameo home vinyl cutter – the same one they made their invitations with – into engraving acrylic panels. They’re made out of very thin plastic, but the fact that the couple were able to snap apart the engraved plasic after putting sheets though the machine is very impressive for something that’s generally used for scrapbooking.

As for the base of each centerpiece, [Bill] whipped up a few enclosures on his 3D printer and built a few battery packs out of 18650 lithium ion cells. The nine LEDs in each base were leftovers from a previous project involving LED strips, perfectly suited to run for a few hours in a reception hall.

It’s a great build for a wonderful occasion, and we’re really impressed with the plastic cutting ability of the Sihouette Cameo. Very nice work there.

Mug Plotter based on the Egg-Bot


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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Airsoft turret has turn, tilt, and auto-feed to keep those BBs flying


Yet another project that proves you need to acquire a laser cutter. This Airsoft turret rotates, tilts, and includes a hopper for ammo.

All of the pieces were cut from acrylic. The base includes a bracket which keeps the large rotating gear level by sandwiching it between the layers. That and the tilt mechanism are pretty straight forward. The module responsible for loading the BBs is pretty neat though. It uses a gear with round teeth the same diameter as the ammo. Once a BB is picked up it is forced upward into the tubing that feeds the gun. Get the full picture from the demo video after the break.

The one thing [The Liquider] is wondering about is how to provide feedback for the tilt and rotate functions. We can’t think of an easier way than to use simple rotary encoders. The Arduino Mega he wishes to use as a driver will have no problem interfacing with reflectance sensors and the acrylic makes it simple to mount this type of black and white encoder wheel.

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