Tag Archives: craft

hexacon. well, hexapod jewelry and then someday a post about hexacon

i wanted to make jewelry
i also need prizes for saturday’s hexacon

bought some supplies from http://www.yelp.com/biz/artist-and-craftsman-supply-cambridge, then lasercut some hexapods from a vector SVG file of my hexapod CAD files

I added some lock washers and made them asymmetrical, because I miss the ones that +Hanna Lin made for me a while back that look like this, but prettier and more functional.

lock washer source, MITERS.mit.edu
Fatal flaw of acrylic jewelry: it only wants to face one direction, sideways, by default (I twisted it around to take this picture). Ah well. A puntly-hour’s worth of work.

acrylic bracelets, lasercut cards, red bull contest

acrylic bracelets

I woke up early one day and tested this instructables before class:

I was tempted to skip class and lasercut things, but I did not! (It’s an music theory 101 class, 21M.301, that I’m listening in on and am completely lost in at this point).

The first one I cut was about 8.5” x 2” and I made it in coreldraw. I wanted to put a hexapod in the middle but couldn’t find a png at the time.

Here are the lasercutter settings I used for a epilog 120w lasercutter to cut/engrave 3mm acrylic:
600 dpi, vector
cut: 25 speed 100 power
engrave (the words): 70 speed 30 power

The narwhal refused to cut as a vector so it’s not in the bracelet (I selected bracelet only).

cut it out of transparent acrylic (shown here with the paper covering not peeled off yet)
So actually the pointy tip snapped off when I was bending it. I made a too-tight radius so this actually helped allow the bracelet to be wearable because I can slip my wrist through the crack. The next time around, though, I made sure to start bending at the pointy end first. This step just requires patience, aim the heat gun, wait a minute, and then the acrylic should be super bendy, at which point I can move the gun up the acrylic and press down all the while to get a nice curve. And then having the patient to wait for it to cool while holding it in place.
I also learned to bend it on a clean surface as the hot acrylic picked up all the gunk on the mat.
I was also too hasty in putting this on to check whether it would go on or not and ended up with a small burn. So… be careful. Hopefully this doesn’t scar like the forging-iron-chopsticks one (which is actually pretty faded from two years ago).
I did a second one which was closer to 9” long.
This one retained the corner, but is also bent too tight. It is extremely hard to put on and actually took off skin.

I didn’t know what to put so here is a cheery message:

Ignore the black spraypaint, I was stenciling.

lasercut cards

I finished up my lasercut birthday gift to cathy wu after two weeks -__-;;; with a lasercut card. She likes giraffes so I borrowed an image from the internet (see image below for source link).
Lasercutter settings for construction paper: 600dpi vector, 100 speed 5 power (120w epilog).
materials used:
about that awesome spray-on adhesive, yea fail, I used too much and then placed it incorrectly so had to redo
I ended up using http://www.fontspring.com/fonts/typodermic/rafika which has a free version.
some finishing touches with a razor were required, and I used tape to pick up the stencils which you can see didn’t all come out cleanly:
I think it turned out well. @__@ I hope +Cathy Wu likes it.

red bull competition

I’m probably not entering, but they sent me free LED stuff to play with. I thought their theme was micro or nano or something so I was excited, because I thought they would send me something related to diy nano but I guess not.
Interesting box design (this came inside an actual shipping box):
looks like they contracted out to a company that makes lasercut things, and that this is meant to be wall-hang-able:

laptop sleeve… am i a hipster now

i acquired a new laptop (gently used by relatives)
consumerism ftw

i’m trying not to destroy this one

i impromptu decided I should make a laptop bag, having spotted a bag of cloth i picked up off reuse last semester, and deciding i need a laptop bag right now because two days is too long to wait


[x] img src

that made it seem so easy, like something i could finish in 15 minutes

i went to MITERS and turns out we don’t have fabric glue. so i decided this would be an excellent opportunity to learn to use the really cool sewing machine we have! i also picked up an old shirt and some strips of leather lying around MITERS (on top of the lathe — turns out we have a good selection of odds and ends of material)

This sewing machine is so amazing. It’s actually very clearly laid out, with instructions screenprinted right on the machine, and alkdjbnwet just amazing. It has this bobbin winder on top which works like a charm and maybe I will go back and take a picture of it. Actually no here’s a video: http://youtu.be/lDiTi6C-66Q?t=2m16s which shows how it will mechanically “automagically” stop winding when the bobbin is full.

The manual is very clear too.

anyway, in retrospect I cut the triangle very off-center. it looked roughly even at the time. whatever.

i also used the strips of leather for padding on the sides. I’m most worried about putting it in my bookbag and the corners/hinges getting damaged when I forget and set my bookbag none too gently. I don’t know if this is an actual cause of damage but for my own ease of mind…

i wish i’d found two shirts because i ended up only padding one side because I was getting tired of my emergency project. also lol it turned out so derpy but i am owning up to derpy projects because i feel like it would have encourage me as a beginning project doer ^__^

i made the strap with some velcro i sewed on.

one thing i would change going back is cutting it a little closer to form — it tends to slip so that the leather strips aren’t protecting the ends but rather the edges of the laptop.

project took 2.5 hours in total

Dreaming of Dancing Hexapods (2.007 Reflection and Learning)

This semester, I’ve been on-off productive in 2.007, where I’ve been working on a hexapod. The original goal was to build a dancing hexapod. I think this was entirely reasonable if I’d been a bit more time-saavy in life, instead of living life from one deadline to the next. Ah well πŸ™‚

(This post is in response to my homework assignment).
Evolution of a Hexapod:

Hexalinkagepod. Mini-hexapod (my “simple-bot” exercise). Two servo linkage-hexapod based off of the Parallax BoeBot Hexapod.
Hexablockapod. First iteration, 18 servo hexapod. Wide body (full sheet of ABS plastic). Doesn’t walk well at all.
Hexablockapod v2. 2nd iteration, 1/3 sheet ABS plastic. Oh, and mini-hexapod for comparison.
Wires hidden with some cloth (4/30/11)
Hexaringapod. Current iteration. ~6” radius body (black ABS plastic). Used vertical bandsaw to add curvature to & reduce weight of outermost segments (tibia). Shortened femurs. (5/6/2011)
0. Hexapod basics
Hexapod — “six-footed”. In this case, a six-legged walking robot; in nature studies, hexapoda = a group of arthropods including the insects. Also refers to a type of robotics platform called the Stewart platform. (this turns up often in google image searches).
There exist a bewildering array of hexapods, from one motor seventy-foot diameter hexapods to three servo one-inch diameter hexapods to wooden wind-powered beach-walking hexapods to eighteen half-foot diameter dancing hexapods. Square hexapods, pyramidal, circular, CNC hexapods (yes, a hexapod that mills things), the variety is amazing. (todo: add links. Jamie’s spider, strandbeest, pololu hexapod, wikipedia hexapod, linkages).
Here, I will focus on 18 servo hexapods at the cost of discussing interesting linkages (Klann, Jensen, etc.). 18-servo hexapods use three servo motors per leg and mimic the insect leg, specifically the coxa, femur, and tibia segments.

There doesn’t appear to be concrete mathematics studying the physics of the insect leg, at least not applied to hexapods. The overuse of servos in 18-servo designs allows for lots of leeway in design, leading to some truly beautiful hexapods. It also allowed me to build one entirely by eye (no CAD), for better or for worse.
this makes me go squeeeeee.
1. Description of the final machine:
My final hexapod has eighteen servos on six legs. It walks, and can accomplish more movements given time to program. The walking gait is a tripod gait, where in theory three legs are on the ground at any given time.
close-up of final machine. Not as objectively squee-worthy as other people’s designs, but I built it all by hand and it’s all my own. <3 
When I started out on the 18-servo hexapod, based on the plethora of designs and a naive belief that my servos could handle anything, I believed that I could “just build” a dancing eighteen-servo hexapod and ignored people’s advice that I CAD my robot before I build it. (Well actually, at first, I had zero belief that I could actually build an 18-servo hexapod nor any idea how to build one. But I really really wanted a dancing hexapod, so it all worked out thanks to the UAs, TAs, professors, shop guys, and the MITERS emailing list. Yay!).
Video of walking (and maybe more?) to come; I took it to Cambridge Mini Maker Faire and a little kid broke one of the servo horns in the first ten minutes, heh (easy to fix). Little kids are epic mechanical design testers.
Yes, little kids should build dancing hexapods too!
2. Some comparisons
I do not know of anyone else in 2.007 who attempted to build a walking robot nor a similar task of dancing. Instead, I will compare my design with some designs from the internet, where I drew my inspiration. I will focus on mechanical design of 18 servo hexapods.
Original inspiration:
Leg design inspiration:
Final body design inspiration:
Future gait studies:
Future aesthetic studies:
Future servo torque / weight studies:
This hexapod uses 1.6 kg*cm servos, with longer leg segments, while I’m using 3.2 kg*cm servos with shorter segments, yet this hexapod has no problems moving around.  Possibly a combination of lighter weight (due to using thin wood instead of 1/8” ABS plastic?) and better mechanical design (e.g. better support for the servos) and better programming (not holding the tibia static, as I am right now).
  • Support servo on both sides (add second pivot point, opposite of output shaft). See http://www.lynxmotion.net/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=3133 for ideas. I did not do this on my design, since I was opting for KISS due to my inexperience with building my own robots from scratch.
  • Instead of having coxa servo support its own weight in addition to the other two servos (femur and tibia), put it on the body and let it rotate the rest of the leg. See sandwich design:
  • The coxa segment probably needs the least torque (I put my weakest servos on the femur segment)
3. Use of design tools.
Design tools allowed clear images to be found on the internet, which helped me with creating my own design. I made less use of these tools than other people around me, which is acceptable as my next revision of the hexapod will certainly involve Solidworks and Inkscape / Coreldraw.
4. Things I learned: (what I would do differently)
Although I stand by my decision to go ahead and build the robot roughly by eye, since I do not believe that Solidworks would have helped me anticipate issues with servo torque, I definitely intend to use CAD tools in the future.
I think I should have attempted to balance the 2.007 workload better than work on spurts every week or two.
In retrospect, I should have picked the easiest available option for connecting and running all 18 servos and run with it as soon as possible, which would have allowed me to see the problem with the oversize body and weak servos much sooner. I often had issues with decision making, and I am glad that I decided to try cutting the robot in half instead of vacillating for a while.
I had thought that there was no need to consider servo torque since I did not need to decide which servos to buy; however, this was an incorrect philosophy as I could have changed the design.
(I had no intuition at the time for servos and torque, and when I asked around people thought my design seemed reasonable. Next time I will definitely be considering servo torque issues — a bit of research reveals that some dancing hexapods use servos with 2x or 5x the torque of my servos).
Solidworks would probably have helped me with my little hexapod, where the leg lengths where off.
In terms of fabrication, I learned to standardize my nuts and bolts (sticking to only 4-40) and the niceties of working with ABS plastic (fast prototyping changes, such as bandsawing my robot in half and reattaching the legs, could be accomplished painlessly).
In conclusion, I’ve decided to open a business selling dancing hexapod hats.

thanks for the idea, Mr. Finberg!
A build post will come soon (probably after finals in a week).

Hexapod status update: it walks, and it’s no longer blocky

My pet 18 servo hexapod <3

In terms of programming, I’m following the tripod gait (3 legs on the ground at any time, legs in the air move forward while legs on the ground move backward). I’m using the Arduino mini as the microcontroller (brains) (with the 2.007 carrier board to make interfacing with the servos easy). I’m controlling 12 channels (which is the max for the ServoWrite function in the Arduino software library), so twelve of the servos are in pairs (using six Y splitter cables). Thus, if  I named each leg:

A   D
B   E
C   F

The servos on AC and DF are linked together, while the servos on B and E are controlled independently. Then I only need 12 channels instead of 18: AC (coxa, femur, tibia). DF (coxa, femur, tibia). B  (coxa, femur, tibia). E  (coxa, femur, tibia).

Anyway, in my code, I took 4 “snapshots” (sets of servo positions) of the tripod gait and I’m looping through them. In other words, I’m following http://www.pololu.com/docs/0J42/4. I’m pretending this is a 12 servo hexapod (since this was my KISS code) in that the tibia segments are kept at one position the whole time.

  1. AC, E legs forward. DF, B legs backward.
  2. AC, E legs down. DF, B legs up.
  3. AC, E legs backward. DF, B legs forward.
  4. AC, E legs up. DF, B legs down.

And the actual code I’m using to get it to walk forward:
(also here: https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1N9dLEcLXiCvFRI4JRVfJUyylEhZFk4azP8_gsickQv4)

 #include <servo.h>
// Declare constants in degrees for the servos
#define TIBIA 45
#define DELAY 200

// +J, BWD = forward, backward (coxa)
// UP, DOWN = up, down (femur)
#define AC_FWD 105
#define AC_BWD 70
#define AC_UP 92
#define AC_DOWN 125

#define B_FWD 95
#define B_BWD 90

#define DF_FWD 70
#define DF_BWD 105

#define E_FWD 90
#define E_BWD 95

int UP = AC_UP;

Servo E_coxa;
Servo E_femur;
Servo E_tibia;

Servo B_coxa;
Servo B_femur;
Servo B_tibia;

Servo AC_coxa;
Servo AC_femur;
Servo AC_tibia;

Servo DF_coxa;
Servo DF_femur;
Servo DF_tibia;

int pos = 0; // variable to store the servo position

void setup()
//Set all pins to output, disable the pullup resistors or something, etc.
digitalWrite(2, OUTPUT);
digitalWrite(3, OUTPUT);
digitalWrite(4, OUTPUT);
digitalWrite(5, OUTPUT);
digitalWrite(6, OUTPUT);
digitalWrite(7, OUTPUT);
digitalWrite(8, OUTPUT);
digitalWrite(9, OUTPUT);
digitalWrite(10, OUTPUT);
digitalWrite(11, OUTPUT);
digitalWrite(12, OUTPUT);
digitalWrite(13, OUTPUT);

pinMode(1, OUTPUT);
pinMode(2, OUTPUT);
pinMode(3, OUTPUT);
pinMode(4, OUTPUT);
pinMode(5, OUTPUT);
pinMode(6, OUTPUT);
pinMode(7, OUTPUT);
pinMode(8, OUTPUT);
pinMode(9, OUTPUT);
pinMode(10, OUTPUT);
pinMode(11, OUTPUT);
pinMode(12, OUTPUT);
pinMode(13, OUTPUT);





void loop()

void tibia() {

void tri1() {
// changed: 1,3,5 fwd, other back [COXA]
// [FEMUR] unchanged


void tri2() {
// [COXA] unchanged
// changed: 1,3,5 down, other up [FEMUR]



void tri3() {
// changed: 1,3,5 down, other up [COXA]
// [FEMUR] 1,3,5 bwd, other fwd [COXA]


void tri4() {
// [COXA] unchanged
// changed: 1,3,5 up, other down [FEMUR]



IAP 2011: chopsticks and toy top (blacksmithing and MITERS lathe)

Blacksmithing is awesome. I had 2 hours of instruction (safety and demo), 1 hour of hands-on time, and then I made these chopsticks in 1.5 hours today. They’re super easy to make. Hot metal has the consistency of clay, and we used modelling clay (or something similar) to model blacksmithing operations.

So, in conclusion, random blacksmithing is not difficult, all you do is heat up the metal and work it.
It’s (a) the setup can be expensive or time-consuming and (b) getting good at blacksmithing takes infinite time.

Also, to learn / refresh on lathe-work, I made two wooden tops.

[2 Feb 2010: Temporary doublepost from http://nouyang.blogspot.com/2011/01/iap-2011-chopsticks-and-toy-top.html as I sort through my posts.]