Kits are shipping!
Let’s start off with the big news everyone probably wants to hear first. The Arduino Shields we were waiting for came, and they look great. You might remember that our Beta Arduino Shields arrived with one missing diode from each board. This time they they arrived complete, and passed our tests. Even better, because the circuit boards came we’ve started shipping kits!
In anticipation of the Arduino shields arriving, we packed as many boxes as we could possibly cram into our work space with everything except the shield so as soon as the Arduino Shields arrived and we finished checking them out we were able to start shipping immediately. We completely filled the available space in first van that the United States Post Office sent us, and they had to send out a second van just for us which we mostly filled with boxes.
We’re hoping to have all of the kits for Kickstarter Backers sent out by the end of this week, and we will have all of the kits for schools sent out by the beginning of next week.
Assembly Instructions Updated
This week I went over the assembly instructions and updated them. As always, you can find the complete instructions at http://www.maslowcnc.com/assemblyguide/ .
As I was going through the process of building a new machine from scratch, it really hit me how much our beta testers have redesigned and improved almost every part of the machine and I think this might be a good time to say a HUGE THANK YOU to all of our beta testers. It is impossible to ever overstate how important they are in this whole process. Thank you. Thank you. THANK YOU to everyone of you. There is absolutely no way I could have done what we did together without you guys. Thank you!
When we shipped to our beta testers there literally weren’t assembly instructions written, and the instructions we have now were based on their pioneering work. Today our community is growing, but your feedback is still critical to making the machine better. As you open the box and put your machine together, remember that our assembly guide is a series of wiki pages. When you find something that you think could be more clear, click that ‘edit’ button in the upper right hand corner and make the instructions better for everyone!
This week saw a couple changes to both the Firmware and Ground Control.
On the firmware side the changes are mostly related to supporting the new Arduino Shield. As part of cleaning up the board layout, several of the pins have changed. Unfortunately, the PWM signal for the left motor is now on a pin which is disabled by default by the internal timer we use to trigger the PID control loops to recalculate. The solution was pretty straight forward, the timer offers a different PWM signal, but at a higher frequency. The result is that the left motor no longer makes the A sharp humming noise that it used to. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or not. I missed it for a few minutes because that sound always indicated to me that everything was working right, but it is a little annoying also. In any case, as soon as the router or dust collector is turned on, you can’t hear it anyway. The Arduino will automatically detect which Arduino Shield version is plugged in when it powers up, so for our beta testers feel free to keep using your original board, or switch to the new one when it arrives. The performance of both should be very similar.
On the Ground Control side two new usability features are added. First, the position of your file is now saved so when Ground Control opens it not only remembers the last file you were working on, but also where it was positioned on the sheet. This means that if you need to close Ground Control (or accidently close Ground Control) in the middle of a cut, you can resume it in the same place on your sheet. This week we also bring back the dashed lines which indicates then the machine is repositioning itself to begin cutting vs the solid lines which indicate where the machine will cut. The dashed lines were lost as part of a push to make Ground Control load large (20,000+ line) files more quickly, and we were able to bring them back with very little performance cost.
Have a great week everyone! Hopefully by the next update we’ll be able to report kits starting to arrive!
-Bar and Hannah