Popsicles, the Pod, Software, & some Giant Glasses: The August 2nd Update

Happy Wednesday everyone!

It is a very hot week here in Portland, with highs over 100 degrees fahrenheit, so we’ve been trying our hardest to stay cool, which has mainly included eating lots of popsicles :) Aside from lots of popsicles, we’ve got a fairly brief update this week which includes a small update on the pod build, a sneak peak at a fun little art project Hannah is working on, some details on software updates, and some quick logistical information for those who purchased in May/June and for those of you on our $1 waitlist.

First of all, an update on the pod. Bar has been very hard at work on the pod that will eventually end up at the Kenton Women’s Village here in Portland. Our commitment to this project is something that we’re very proud of, but it’s also a lot of work and is taking quite a bit of time, Bar’s in particular. We wanted to quickly thank everyone for being supportive and understanding of our goals with the pod project. We apologize if it may seem like we aren’t getting to your issues as quickly as you’d hope we would. We promise bettering the machine for everyone will always be a priority, but the construction of the pod does have a deadline so we’ve got to split our time wisely. Thanks to everyone for being understanding about this.

This week, I (Hannah) have finally had the time to execute a fun art project I’ve been considering for quite a while. Back in the very earliest days of the Maslow, Bar thought he would need very large chains to move the sled. He purchased this chain:

Which we still have laying around because how could we possibly get rid of such a huge chain?? It became a joke that we would hang something from the ceiling with this giant chain. Months ago, Bar told me he had a dream that we made a giant pair of glasses and hung those from the ceiling. Ever since that conversation, that giant pair of glasses hasn’t left my mind, and I finally started cutting them yesterday! What’s particularly cool about this project is that we cut a new material for the glasses - pegboard! The front frame piece is made of pegboard while the arms are ¼ inch plywood. The pegboard cut very well, though it is much more “fuzzy” and fragile than even ¼ inch plywood. This project is still in the works, but I hope to submit it to our upcoming ADX gallery show which will be in September. Check out the sneak peak photo below!

Bar’s Mini Update:

Hey everyone! I’ve just gotten a ‘final’ design for the POD from the architects so I’ve been pretty frantically converting the rough drawings into exact files ready to be cut. It’s pretty tedious work, mostly making sure all the tabs in each part line up, but it’s important and it’s important it get done quickly because we’re going to be showing off the first section of the POD at the art museum in just a few weeks. If you’d like to follow along or add suggestions you can see the model in real time as I’m drawing it at this link: https://cad.onshape.com/documents/8d04a283bad09e15e4cd354c/w/5472fc6dd4d7de0ad1f4a9ff/e/8c6b2d228d999cbb04f272ae

Because that’s a bit of a boring update, here’s a video of me testing to make sure that the mockup we built isn’t too unstable to be easily lifted with the forklift:

Software changes this week:

The changes to both the firmware and software this week relate mostly to two projects. One was to track down an issue we’ve been seeing where the movements of the motors has been jerky recently. After a couple false starts investigating the theory that the Arduino processor was running out of memory (it wasn’t) we determined that the issue was with the tuning of the PID controller and the tuning was updated in v0.83. There are also now settings option under the Advanced Settings menu to let the PID values be tuned manually from within Ground Control.

The second big set of changes in v0.83 this week is adding support for what we’re calling “Triangular Kinematics”. We’ve seen a lot of enthusiasm from the community (and me!) about the idea of simplifying the design of the sled so that the chains either meet at a single point, or simulate meeting at a single point using a set of bearings. This idea has a lot of promise for both simplifying the design of the machine, and the calibration process so we’re doing our best to support it in the software. We now have an option under Advanced Settings to switch the machine to using triangular kinematics as well as an option in the simulator to simulate triangular kinematics.

Finally, some quick logistics. For those of you who purchased a machine via our website in May or June of this year, we are still on track to ship in September, though it will be at the end of September. It’s possible you won’t actually receive your kit until October. Be on the lookout for a more detailed email about this with some more specifics from us by the end of this week.

If you are on our $1 waitlist and have yet to actually purchase a machine, we do plan to open sales again this fall, most likely in late October or November. We’ve decided on an order fulfillment option that we believe is going to work out really well, so we’re aiming to ship all future orders that will be placed within 2 weeks after purchase. Again, if you’re on our $1 waitlist, be on the lookout for a more detailed email from us by the end of this week.

That’s all for this week! Thanks to everyone for reading and we’ll be back again next week!

- Hannah & Bar