We hope you’ve had a great week. This week we’re going to introduce our new calibration routine for measuring the machine, talk about some changes to the frame that I’ve been working on, and remind you once again to come meet us in person at Maker Faire.
Self measuring calibration routine
One of the biggest issues we’ve struggled with during the beta testing process has been properly calibrating the machine. I didn’t predict that calibration would be nearly as tough as it’s been, and the process of figuring out how to make the calibration process simple and clear has been a constant reminder of why beta testing is so important.
I’m excited that this week we’re showing off a new calibration process which distills the knowledge we’ve gathered so far from the community about how to make the calibration process easier into one place. We’ve created a walk through “wizard” type program in Ground Control which walks you through the process.
The process uses the chain and gear motor combination in place of a tape measure to record the machine’s dimensions. The measurements gathered this way turn out to be much more consistent than using a tape measure and measuring by hand. Once the machine is measured, the process cuts a test shape and asks you to measure it. Using the information about the dimensions of the test shape, Maslow improves its calibration. This process is repeated until the test shape is within tolerances.
The process has benefited from the very beginning tremendously from the contributions of our community. Many of the fundamental mechanics of how the process works were determined by the community. As we all learn more about how to make the calibration process even easier, we will incorporate that knowledge into the software.
New frame design
Another place we’ve been incorporating community feedback this week is in the design of the machine frame. It seems like the community wanted a frame which was easier and quicker to build with conventional tools. We also needed a frame which was less susceptible to chain slipping. By incorporating aspects of machines we’ve seen the beta testers build, we’ve made a frame which I think will be both simpler to build and (if initial tests stand up over time) less prone to chain slipping.
Less plywood more 2x4. We’ve added more parts made from 2x4 and removed some made from plywood. This reduces the total part count significantly, and especially reduces amount of time cutting parts. The new design requires eight fewer leg braces and two fewer arm cut outs.
Forces in plane. By rotating the motors 45 degrees we can align the motor mounts with the forces on them making them less likely to flex meaning the chain can feed more smoothly.
More chain wrap. The new design allows for more chain to be wrapped around each sprocket, reducing the chance of chain slips.
Constructable with hand tools. The new design is easier to construct without a CNC router meaning we may be able to do away with constructing the temporary frame altogether as a step in the assembly process. Note, the CNC cut front part of the arm is largely aesthetic, the arm can function without it.
I will be working on writing up complete step by step assembly instructions for the new design. Until then, feel free to take a look at the CAD files on GitHub here: https://github.com/MaslowCNC/Mechanics
We’re going to Maker Faire! I (Bar) grew up in San Francisco and have been going to Maker Faire since the very first one. It’s one of my favorite events of the year. If you are in the bay area and have a chance to come by, we’d love to meet you. We’ll be manning the booth all day and meeting the community, so we might be a little off the grid next week, but we’ll do our best to check in on the forums, GitHub, and emails.
This week we saw some fantastic Signs in the forums, and we took it as a sign that should be the project of the week.
We’re seeing a lot of projects by the same few super beta testers, so I just want to encourage everyone to share the things you build in the forums! We can all learn from and be inspired by each other. It can be a little intimidating to share something you’ve built or are working on (trust me :-p ), but we all want to see what’s being built.
Hannah’s mini update:
For those of you following along who have yet to purchase a Maslow, we will be opening sales again this Monday, May 15th! If you or someone you know might want a Maslow, be sure to head to our website to place yourself on our $1 waitlist so you’ll be sure to receive the link for purchase this Monday.
That’s all for this week folks! Have a great week everyone, thanks for staying informed, and start getting warmed up to build some amazing things!
-Bar and Hannah