For all that modern washers and dryers do, they don’t let you know when they’re finished. Or they do, but it’s only a short victory song that plays once and can be easy to miss. What most of us need is a gentle reminder that there’s damp laundry festering in the washer, or fresh laundry in the dryer getting wrinkly.
This laundry monitor from [Sparks and Code] is version 2.0. The first version was working fine, but it was based on vibration (or lack thereof). Fast forward a few years, and [Sparks and Code] got a modern pair that’s so finely tuned, it doesn’t produce enough vibration to register. Back to the drawing board [Sparks and Code] went, and eventually came up with version 2.0.
Now, [Sparks and Code] is detecting whether the machines are on using a pair of split-core transformers to monitor power at the breaker box. With these, you just run the wire through the hole, and it gives the relative mV value going through the wire on a 3.5mm cable. Those cables are connected to an ESP32 inside the 3D-printed box, which is mounted above the cabinet door. Since [Sparks and Code] already has home assistants all over the house, it was easy to integrate and have them all play the message ‘please flip the laundry’.
Once this project was all buttoned up, they thought of one issue — the self-cleaning cycle. Since it takes about four hours, they like to run it overnight. You can see the problem here — no one wants to hear Alexa at 3AM. Fortunately, [Sparks and Code] was able to adjust the Python script to ignore these events. Be sure to check out the build video after the break.
If only the dryer could empty itself and fold the clothes. Oh wait, there’s a robot for that.
Continue reading “Spinning Up A New Laundry Monitor”
Finding space to dry clothes can be challenging in smaller spaces. [Tom Parker] solved this conundrum in his one bedroom apartment by putting a drying rack in his stairwell.
By making the laundry rack fold up above the stairwell, [Parker] can dry his clothes without them taking up a lot of precious floor space. A pole is used to is raise and lower a dowel rod attached to two lines of paracord running over pulleys and to the end of the rack. Each moving corner of the rack also has a set length of cord attached to prevent the rack from rotating too far down as well as providing a safety mechanism should one of the other lines of cord snap.
The rack is bolted-together, laser cut 1.5mm thick mild steel with 15 mm dowels attached to the sides via threaded inserts. Spacing is set for the raised rack to put clothes at 75 mm apart. Plywood pieces interface the rack with the wall to avoid damaging the drywall.
If you’re looking for more laundry hacks, check out this Smart Clothes Dryer or How Robots Suck at Folding Laundry.
Robots are used in all sorts of industries on a wide variety of tasks. Typically, it’s because they’re far faster, more accurate, and more capable than we are. Expert humans could not compete with the consistent, speedy output of a robotic welder on an automotive production line, nor could they as delicately coat the chocolate on the back of a KitKat.
However, there are some tasks in which humans still have the edge. Those include driving, witty repartee, and yes, folding laundry. That’s not to say the robots aren’t trying, though, so let’s take a look at the state of the art.
Continue reading “Robots Are Folding Laundry, But They Suck At It”
Roomba aside, domestic robots are still in search of the killer app they need to really take off. For the other kind of home automation to succeed, designers are going to have to find the most odious domestic task and make it go away at the push of the button. A T-shirt folding robot is probably a good first step.
First and foremost, hats off to [
] for his copious documentation on this project. Not only are complete instructions for building the laundry bot listed, but there’s also a full use-case analysis and even a complete exploration of prior art in the space. [Stefano]’s exhaustive analysis led to a set of stepper-actuated panels, laser-cut from thin plywood, and arranged to make the series of folds needed to take a T-shirt from flat to folded in just a few seconds.
The video below shows the folder in action, and while it’s not especially fast right now, we’ll chalk that up to still being under development. We can see a few areas for improvement; making the panels from acrylic might make the folded shirt slide off the bot better, and pneumatic actuators might make for quicker movements and sharper folds. The challenges to real-world laundry folding are real, but this is a great start, and we’ll be on the lookout for improvements.
Continue reading “Laundry Bot Tackles The Tedium Of T-Shirt Folding”
[Ty Palowski] doesn’t like folding his many shirts. He saw one of those boards on TV that supposedly simplifies folding, but it does require you to manually move the board. That just won’t do, so [Ty] motorized it to create a shirt folding robot.
The board idea is nothing new, and probably many people wouldn’t mind the simple operation required, but what else are you going to do with your 3D printer but make motor mounts for a shirt folding machine? The folding board is, of course, too big for 3D printing so he made that part out of cardboard at first and then what looks like foam board.
Continue reading “Robot, Sudo Fold My Laundry”
If you’re like most people, then washing clothes is probably a huge pain for you. Figuring out the odd number of minutes necessary to run a wash and dry cycle, trying desperately not to end up with clothes that are still wet, and worst of all having to wait so long for your clothes to be clean can be a real hassle.
One team of inventors decided to build Eleven, a dryer that dries and sanitizes clothes in a minute or less. As explained in their demo video, clothes are placed around the center tube and dried by the airflow initiated by Eleven. Fragrance and ozone is injected to prevent bacteria from causing bad smells.
The team experimented with ultrasonics and microwave-vacuum system, and ultimately decided to use a method that controls the flow of air within the fabric. A steam generator sprays the clothes with a disinfectant while a filter quarantines the chemicals to a receptacle within the device.
They also installed sensors to monitor the performance of the machine remotely, allowing users to track their clothes and the health of the machine even when they aren’t home. Something we’ve previously seen done in the DIY space.
It might not be the futuristic heat-free clothes dryer we were promised, but Eleven certainly looks like a step in the right direction.
Soap cleans clothes better than magnets. There, we are spoiling the ending so don’t accuse us of clickbaiting. The funny thing is that folks believe this is plausible enough to ask magnets experts so often that they dedicate a blog entry to comparing magnets and soap. Since you already know how this ends, let’s talk about why this is important. Science. Even though some magnet retailers, herein referred to as [the experts] can easily dismiss this question as fanciful or ridiculous, they apply the scientific method to show that their reasoning is sound and clean evidence is on their side. [The experts] detail the materials and techniques in their experiment so peers may replicate the tests and come to the same results themselves. We do not doubt that the outcome would be equally conclusive.
The experiment includes a control group which processes dirty clothes without detergent or magnets, one group with only magnets, one group with only detergent, and one group with both. White clothing was soiled with four well known garment killers and manually agitated in a bin of warm water. We guessed that magnets would be on par with the control group, and we were pleased to be right. [The experts] now have a body of work to reference the next time someone comes at them with this line. The only question now is if tricky spouses used science to get nerds to do the laundry.
In this age of spin, keeping facts straight instead of jumping to heartfelt conclusions is more vital than ever. We are all potentially citizen scientists so testing a conspiracy is within everyone’s grasp.
Continue reading “Magnets Versus Laundry Detergent”