Happy Wednesday All!
This week we’ve got a lot of information on the upcoming shipment of preorders that were placed in May/June. Additionally, Bar made a video with an update about the CNC tiny house we’ve been working on.
First, let’s talk about the shipment of the next batch of kits! Yesterday, we rented a truck from Home Depot and brought the parts and supplies we still had at ADX over to Exceed so that they can continue working on packaging up all the parts. We had to take two trips with the truck as we had to bring all the power supplies, all the arduinos, our packaging machine, and all the paper for that machine, plus many smaller random items. You can check out some photos below of the truck all loaded up.
Once arriving at Exceed, I had the chance to speak with Sean, who’s spearheading the packaging, about how things were coming along. Him and his team are well underway with more than half of all the bags packed as well as at least half of all the stretchy string cut and bundled. I discovered that a few parts - the cup hooks, chain bracket bolts, and brick mounting bolts - still have yet to arrive due to being on backorder from our supplier (McMaster Carr). I was able to speak with the supplier today and the rest of those parts should be on the way to Exceed tomorrow, meaning Sean and his team at Exceed can continue working on packaging without a hitch.
Aside from packaging the hardware bags, the rest of the parts in the kit essentially go into the box as is. The cables will need to be bundled and the brackets wrapped, but both of these items are also already at Exceed and they can begin working on this once all the hardware bags have been packaged, which should be done in the next few days.
The final missing piece that has yet to arrive are the motors, both for the regular machine and for the z axis. We got the official word from our supplier that the motors should arrive to Portland on Saturday, October 7th. Being that it is a Saturday, this means that the delivery company most likely won’t actually get the motors to Exceed until Monday, October 9th. Our goal is to have the boxes completely prepared, save for the motors, so that they will just need to be separated into pairs, placed in the boxes, and the boxes can be labeled and on their ways! This means that shipment will be happening throughout the second week of October! If you’d like to track the motors yourself, the boat information is “CMA CGM T. Jefferson V.239TXE”. If you input that directly into Google (or follow the link here: https://www.cma-cgm.com/ebusiness/schedules/voyage/detail?voyageReference=239TXE), you’ll see that the boat is first scheduled to arrive in the United States in Los Angeles on October 1st, then later in Oakland on October 6th, with delivery up to Portland by the 7th.
We feel very good about this timeline, and are super excited to finally be getting these kits out to all of you who ordered them! When the second week of October rolls around, please be patient with us. Being that the orders are being fulfilled at Exceed and not directly by us at ADX, there may be a day delay in getting those tracking numbers input into our software so that you can see that your order has been fulfilled and shipped. We promise we will mark your order fulfilled with a tracking number, so they’ll be no need to email asking for it. When you receive the confirmation of shipment email from our website, you’ll know that your kit has indeed shipped!
That being said, if you have any last minute address changes, please get those to Hannah ASAP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. I plan to be organizing and verifying addresses all next week so the sooner I have everyone’s correct information, the better.
CNC Tiny House Update:
This week we want to give another little update on the CNC made tiny house we're building and talk about some of the lessons we're learning and how they're making Maslow better.
For anyone who hasn't been following along with the project here is the quick back story. We volunteered to build an all CNC-made tiny house which will join a village of other volunteer built tiny houses that the city of Portland is using to provide transitional housing for homeless women. The design was by a local architecture firm.
We're not done yet, but we've already learned a lot along the way and we want to share some of those lessons.
The first lesson that we’ve been learning is that building a tiny house is hard even when you have a robot to help you! We had no idea how much work we were signing up for when we volunteered to build this thing. It has taken more time away from core Maslow work than we wanted it to, but when it gets cold this winter it will feel really good to know that someone is warm in a house that we built, and a lot of the exciting developments to Maslow that we’ve seen (like the new kinematics system) has been driven by working on a project which requires making a lot of accurate parts quickly.
Another lesson that we have learned is how important it is to have a complete CAD model of the entire structure and a parts list before beginning. Because of time constraints, we started building before the architects had finished the full design which has caused a lot of headaches and extra trips to the hardware store.
Building a house in sections has been an interesting experience. The structure is designed to be taken apart and moved with a forklift. It was really cool to see the three sections fit together despite the fact that we didn't measure anything, we just cut out the parts and started assembling.
We are especially relieved that all the parts have lined up since each section was basically built on a different machine. The first section was built on the original Maslow where the chains anchor at two separate points. It took us about three days of cutting to get all the parts.
The second module was cut on a CNC router parts PRO61120 (link: http://www.cncrouterparts.com/pro60120-5-x-10-cnc-router-kit-p-374.html) machine that belongs to the CNC Router Parts company who conveniently have a Portland office next door. We cut the second module on their machine because it’s always cool to try out a different machine (I’d never used a full sized gantry style machine before) and it was cool to compare the experience. It was an impressive machine, and I would highly recommend it. Full specs for the machine we used are:
The PRO61120 machine was able to cut all the parts for the second module in a single day which was really nice, and we’d like to thank CNC Router parts (and especially Nathan) for giving us the chance to do that and for being interested in helping out with our project! The folks over at CNC router parts are great people.
The third module was cut on Maslow using the new triangular kinematics system where the chains point directly to the center, and it was the first big test of that system. I also pushed Maslow to cut all the parts for the third module in a single day by increasing the feedrate and depth of cut and we did manage to get all the parts cut for the third module in a single day. The new system worked great with much easier calibration and it seemed a little happier to go fast than the old system because the chains were always pulling directly away from the bit. I think that the next step to increase the performance would be a four chain system.
Another interesting challenge has been getting the modules joined. They’re too big and heavy to move with anything other than the forklift, but the forklift doesn’t have the finesse to get all the bolt holes aligned (and the parking lot is far from level). Our first solution was to make ⅜ inch steel pins which we could put in the bolt holes to guide the parts into place. Even using the pins to guide the modules together, the forklift still didn’t have the needed finess. The final solution was to replace the steel pins with threaded rods and to pull the sections together by slowly tightening them. Once the modules were joined, the threaded rods were removed one at a time and the final bolts inserted. It was tedious, but it worked.
Overall, I’m not sure that building a house using CNC machines is the cheapest or easiest way to build a house right now, but I think in the next few years we’ll start to see more good open source designs, more refined techniques, and ever better and more affordable machines. It’s still a cutting edge (bad pun) idea, but I think CNC construction has a bright future.
New versions of both the Maslow Firmware and Ground Control are still coming out every week, so don’t forget to update! The changes aren’t as critical as they were during the first few weeks, but we’re still making steady improvements so it’s worth keeping up to date. We’ve got some especially exciting changes in store for next week, with details to follow.
Have a great week everyone!
-Bar and Hannah