Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Token ring gold

The decision we made early on to give each RepRap component its own controller on a token ring is really paying dividents: development is now made so simple*.

I'm adding another extruder based on the Coke-bottle/balloon idea blogged here.
It needs a timed solenoid controller - the solenoid is on the right in the picture, its controller is in the middle, and the RepRap machine is off to the left. I'll get the new device working on the bench, then bolt it into the machine.

Getting it going is proving really easy* - just break out of the token ring on the Communications/Power PCB to a new controller board (supplied by the very wonderful RepRap Research Foundation), power it from the same source, copy the old extruder firmware to a new directory, give it a new address in the Makefile, and away you go.

Testing couldn't be simpler* - you program a PIC, plug it into the controller, and wind up the Java RepRap control program; the extruder test function now allows you to select which extruder you want. It takes me about a minute to go through the cycle of amending the firmware, putting it in the PIC, and trying it out.

*As soon as this is posted The Fates may read it, of course, and then my boasting will get its reward - easy and simple will become hard and complicated.

Are Klotho, Lakhesis and Atropos online, does anyone know?...

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I know of Klotho, Lakhesis and Atropos. What do you want to hear first? The good news or the bad news?
Oh - bad first, then good. Every time...
Last I heard Urðr, Verðandi and Skuld were still hanging out up in the Føroyar islands. :-)
The bad news is that the fates have already read it. The good news is they will wait for you to make lots more progress before they mess with you. And that design looks cool. Can you dispense soft drinks with that? Thats what it reminds me of.
I suspect he could. This universal board could probably be put to any number of alternate purposes.

Come to think of it, the local junior college recently put in vending machines based on cartesian coordinate robots...
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