Sonic 3D Printer Auto Bed Leveling Makes a Swoosh

3D Printering: the final frontier. These are the voyages of another 3D printer hack. Its mission: to explore strange new ways of leveling a print bed.

So far, we’ve had servo probes, Allen key probes, Z-sled probes, inductive and capacitive contactless switches, just to name a few. All of them allow a 3D printer to probe its print bed, calculate a correction plane or mesh, and compensate for its own inherent, time variant, inaccuracies.

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Papydoo is Watching You!

Papydoo spends most of its time sleeping, but if startled by vibration it will wake up and stare you down with a cold and unnerving robo-gaze like you have not seen before. Or it might just do something crazy like display a scrolling Space Invaders character marquee.  That’s the thing with Papydoo, you just never know.

Vibration sensing is accomplished with a piezo element harvested from an old horn speaker that is simply sandwiched between the project enclosure and the surface it is sitting on. A MCP601 op-amp is used to amplify the weak potentials from the piezo element and feed them to the ADC of a Zilog Z8F083A microcontroller. When sufficient vibration is detected, the MCU wakes up and displays one of a number of different animations on the front panel 32X8 LED matrix. The various display modes can also be manually selected using a small button on the back of the enclosure.

Power consumption is reduced to 150uA while sleeping by only briefly waking the MCU once per second to check the current vibration level. Nearly all of this power draw can be attributed to the op-amp, and although there are much more efficient models available, sometimes the best choice is just the one you already have on hand in your parts bin. Regardless, the power consumption is low enough to run the device off of a set of AA batteries.

We could imagine that similar setup could be used for a number of different low-powered messaging applications that would only “wake up” when someone was near enough to read and interact with. Add a loud speaker and this might even make a good alarm to keep pesky coworkers out of your “cube”. What would you do with a Papydoo?

Thanks for the tip [Laurence]! If you happen to read this, we are dying to know: why “Papydoo”?

Short video after the break.

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