Archive for the ‘PCB’ Category

MTM Snap: A snap-together Arduino-powered desktop CNC milling machine.

Friday, May 20th, 2011

MTM Snap, the Martha Stewart Edition

Jonathan Ward from the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms has designed a snap-together, desktop-sized CNC milling machine. The MTM Snap (part of the Machines that Make project) is made from 1/2-inch high-density polyethylene (HDPE) – itself milled on a ShopBot – and can be assembled for about $700. This three-axis CNC machine can mill circuit boards, wax molds, and harder materials in a 5x3x1.75″ working area.

Version five: now with the screw terminals on the other side

The MTM Snap is controlled by an Arduino board running grbl, a full-featured and robust g-code interpreter. A custom shield (designed by Nadya Peek) with three Allegro A3982 chips drives the machine’s stepper motors, and the whole thing is controlled from a simple GUI written in Processing. The advantage of this setup is that you can use the machine from pretty much any computer: desktop or laptop, Mac, Windows, or Linux. We use the CBA’s Kokompe tools for generating g-code files, but grbl should handle most files from other sources (like PCB-GCode).

You can’t yet buy the MTM Snap, but the machine has been designed to be as easy as possible to assemble yourself. All the design files are online if you want to cut out your own pieces on the ShopBot. The complete bill of materials is available, as are the documentation for the Arduino shield and software instructions.

If you’d like to see the MTM Snap in person, drop by the ShopBot booth at the Bay Area Maker Faire this weekend. It will be running off of an OLPC laptop.

Google Launches Android Open Accessory Development Kit Based On Arduino

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

As seen in the streaming of Google IO 2011, physical computing and interactive enviroments are one of the main topics opening the conference. The Android Open Accessory Kit is going to allow Android related devices receive data from different sensors (just via USB, for now).

The Android Open Accessory Development Kit (ADK) provides an implementation of an Android USB accessory that is based on the Arduino open source electronics prototyping platform, the accessory’s hardware design files, code that implements the accessory’s firmware, and the Android application that interacts with the accessory. The hardware design files and code are contained in the ADK package download.

The board is  based on the Arduino Mega2560 and Circuits@Home USB Host Shield designs, since it communicates to the phone in its “accessory” mode. You can get the custom library / firmware to make it run & test with the shield pictured on top.

more info on the [Android Developer site], via [engadget] source [Google IO]

Ultimaker Pick & Place

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Nice (mis)use of a Ultimaker 3D printer to act as a pick & place machine.

Assembling medium quantities of PCBs was never within the reach of a home based manufacturer. It requires expensive equipment, but most of these parts can actually be 3D printed, and you can use your existing 3D printer, such as the Ultimaker, to do pick-and-place operations.

via [Make] source [Ultimaker]

Arduino Midi Rainbow

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Last week I was in Rome for the Arduino Day. I was amazed by the projects and the people there: true Arduino fans. This is the first post about some of those projects: more soon.

[anbello] generates – via MIDI – different light patterns on a strip of addressable RGB LED

MIDI messages from the keyboard (real or simulated on PC) enter the MIDI Shield’s MIDI IN and are presented to the Arduino serial port. The Arduino firmware interprets the MIDI messages NoteOn NoteOff, associates each key on the five octaves (60 keys) keyboard to a strip LED and lights it with color associated with the note. In the firmware to control the strip we used the FastSPI_LED library that allows you to address every single LED and turn the desired color (R, G, B).
One interesting thing to note is the use of the firmaware function millis() to implement a sort of elementary multitasking. The idea was taken from this post after user “westfw” on the Arduino forum.

I really appreciate the effort of translating the post. Check the code and part list on [Sululab]


Tokyo Hackerspace/RDTN Geiger Shield

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Japan’s difficoult moment has challenged many Arduino users (I can count at least three different threads on the forum about geiger tube & sensors lately  1, 2, 3). As David posted some time ago, the need of an open, net-spreaded visualization of the real level of radioactivity was heavily felt by the community, also for  trasparency reasons.  This is when the Geiger shield comes in:

This is an Arduino-based geiger counter shield that makes it easy to upload data to the internet and also interchange tubes. Since it’s open source and Arduino-based, its also easy to hack this to other interesting applications.

you can follow on  [TokyoHackerspace] the all process of prototyping.

Arduino Computer Vision With Video Experimenter Shield

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

[Michael] posted some interesting uses of Nootropic’s latest shield, the Video Experimenter Shield, besed on a LM1881 video sync separator to detect the timing of the vertical and horizontal sync in a composite video signal. It’s one of the few examples of Arduino processing a live video signal, as previously seen with the Eye Shield (based on the same IC, but with no video out implemented). The image here is processed and sent out from the Arduino using a custom version of the TVoutLibrary. Wow.

The Video Experimenter shield can give your Arduino the gift of sight. In the Video Frame Capture project, I showed how to capture images from a composite video source and display them on a TV. We can take this concept further by processing the contents of the captured image to implement object tracking and edge detection.

The setup is the same as when capturing video frames: a video source like a camera is connected to the video input. The output select switch is set to “overlay”, and sync select jumper set to “video input”. Set the analog threshold potentiometer to the lowest setting.

Please have a look at the other examples, such as edge detection, and using the shield to Decoding Captioning Data inside the signal.

via [nootropicDesign], also [Video Experimenter Project Page]

Gameboy ROM backups using an Arduino

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

[Alex] collects retro gaming consoles. One day while playing a SNES title, his save games got wiped when he powered off the system. It turned out that the battery inside the game cartridge got disconnected somehow, and it got him thinking. He decided he wanted to find a way to back up his save games from the cartridges for safe keeping.

While cart readers exist, he says that they are hard to find nowadays, so he decided to construct his own using an Arduino. SNES cartridges are relatively complex, so he opted to focus on Gameboy cartridges for the time being. Before attempting to back up save games, he first chose to learn how to communicate with the cartridges in general, by reading the ROM.

via [HackADay]

Illutron Ship Gets Remote-Controlled

Friday, March 11th, 2011

[Christian] from Illutron hackespace in Copenhagen managed to control and monitor this ship (Illutron) from the internet.

Today, it is finally possible to remotely monitor the ship. In essence: I am sitting in the warm comfort of my home, and with a glance at my phone, I can see, that the sinking alarm in the machinery room is dry. The light is out in the Mess room. All is nice at our little lovely ship out there in the dark, cold Sydhavn.
Actually, behind this lies a pretty clever system (I think I am allowed to brag a little :-), that makes it possible to monitor events on sensors on the ship, and trigger that messages is sent to Google
Talk users. (if you have a gmail, you have Google Talk) It is also possible via your chat, to send commands to the ship, and get reading from sensors when you want them.[...] Basicly, we can monitor anything, that can be plugged into an Arduino board. One thing I would love, is a temperature sensor for the Mess room. Bring the sensor, and I will mount it So far, we have
– a light sensor, that reports if it is light or dark in the Mess (the electronics room)
– a new water level sensor. I didn’t dare mess with the old system, so I am putting in new float sensors

Things can still be developed a lot, and it will be – Suggestions would be happily received.
Thanks and hello to Stephane and Olle that came by to visit us at the sunday meeting, and ended up staying all evening – for help with sensor mounting and JavaScript improvements!

Have a look at this Ship Automation project on [Christian Liljedahl project page] and [Illutron site]

SimplenZAR Gets More Complicated

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

Arduino sending MIDI messages to control some other geeky machinery for electronic music, on breadboard.

Lately SimplenZAR becomes a self-made shield.

Late again an Arduino is developed just to fit that shield and set the original Arduino free to for the next project. Bravo!


Gameduino Brings Vintage Gaming Back

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

If Kickstarter is nowadays best place to find new (or upcoming) toys to dream about, Gameduino is probably one of the most amazing pieces of hardware I’ve seen hosted there. The shield mounts its own FPGA able of 80ies style graphics and sounds for creating old-school, 8-bit video-games, pre-loaded with numerous sprites and set up for easy connection to a VGA display.

Gameduino is a game adapter for Arduino – or anything else with an SPI interface – built as a single shield that stacks up on top of the Arduino and has plugs for a VGA monitor and stereo speakers.

The sound and graphics are definitely old-school, but thanks to the latest FPGA technology, the sprite capabilities are a step above those in machines from the past.

  • video output is 400×300 pixels in 512 colors
  • all color processed internally at 15-bit precision
  • compatible with any standard VGA monitor (800×600 @ 72Hz)
  • background graphics
    • 512×512 pixel character background
    • 256 characters, each with independent 4 color palette
    • pixel-smooth X-Y wraparound scroll
  • foreground graphics
    • each sprite is 16×16 pixels with per-pixel transparency
    • each sprite can use 256, 16 or 4 colors
    • four-way rotate and flip
    • 96 sprites per scan-line, 1536 texels per line
    • pixel-perfect sprite collision detection
  • audio output is a stereo 12-bit frequency synthesizer
  • 16 independent voices 10-4000 Hz
  • per-voice sine wave or white noise

Have a look at the nice reference poster, its detailed hardware reference or its set of sample programs and library.

support this project on [Kickstarter], via [CrunchGear] [BoingBoing] source [ExCamera]