Warming Up

I’ve recently gotten the ok to deploy a large gondola plotter in a public place. Theoretically, there is not limit to how large a gondola plotter can be. Practically, there are considerations to how large they get. I’ve been working on solving the various issues that arise from having a 10′ deployment. Of course with the ~20% margin to avoid extreme positions, it’s not 10’^2 drawable. Still though, there are many challenges due to the scale. Finding paper big enough is a challenge, so is moving it without damaging it. I figured out other quirks, it’s boring, let’s skip to the eye candy:

I have several public facing experiments lined up for it over the next few months or years. I’m not in a hurry. This is just a warm up to figure out what it means to deploy it in a public spot. What’s fairly clear though, is that there isn’t much I can do to make this better, and so this may be the culmination of a 5 years development effort.

That’s 3 days of the machine working non-stop, I’m watching the ink level closely and hope it’ll be done in a couple more days.

Mindstorms Plotter

Robin built a very cool Lego Mindstorms based plotter. I’ve seen him run into issues similar to what I ran into, and solve them. I’ll sometimes attach a monetary prize to some of his Mindstorms projects. Once he’s scratched the itch and wants to move on, but I know a lot of challenges occur not just making a robot work, but making it work well.

For a while there was $5 on making a drawing machine that drew something beyond a basic shape, it didn’t have to be much, just had to be something that proved the machine’s worth. And he’s earned it with this:

He didn’t write the software that turns text into lines, but there were plenty of mechanical challenges to getting the machine consistent enough to make this. Overall I’m blown away by the quality of today’s Mindstorms. Seeing him build his machine reminded me I had this set growing up:

Might have planted some seeds.

In the meantime I’m testing a 10′ deployment, a drawing machine so big one needs a ladder to get to the top. I haven’t ran it yet, but I know there will be new issues arising from the scale. Even just setting the paper is challenging.