posts tagged with the keyword ‘arduino’

2017.11.05

NoiseMaster X

Just a few more of these noisemakers… I swear! Yes, if you are not aware, I made a lot of them. I also brought them all to Maker Faire Milwaukee in 2017 so people could play with them. That’s the sort of thing I tend to do. On with the show!

The speaker for this one is from an old stereo that Dana told me to get rid of because parts of it broke. I did actually get rid of the receiver by dropping it off on the Hack Rack at Milwaukee Makerspace, but I kept the speakers. ;)

NoiseMaster X

The enclosure this time consists of some offset pieces of wood stained two different colors. The electronics are again somewhat exposed. On top are two controls that allow for user input.

NoiseMaster X

The controls consist of a button to enable the sound, and a potentiometer to alter the sound. The knob for the potentiometer is 3D printed, and it’s a knob from this thing. I’ve used these knobs before, many years ago, thanks to the old RepRap. Luckily the new printer did a much better job this time around.

There’s also a ring beneath the button. This ring is 100% there to cover up a mistake I made by drilling the hole too large. I’m more than happy to honestly admit I screwed up, but I also found a way to fix things, and I think it worked.

One other interesting thing abut this one is the pencil lines that are clearly visible on the wood. I realized that I could draw on the wood and still have it show up fine after staining it. Now I’m tempted to explore this method more and see what else I can do with it. Hooray for weird experiments! (Oh, I also totally screwed up with the assembly and mismatched the sides, but again, I made it work and you probably wouldn’t know if I didn’t admit it.)

NoiseMaster X

As for the electronics, I once again went with an Arduino Nano, a super-cheap microcontroller with plenty of inputs & outputs (especially since I only used a few.) It’s also easy to power with a MiniUSB cable and a 5 volt USB power supply.

NoiseMaster X

Here’s a bit more on the knob. The bottom hole is sized to fit the shaft of the potentiometer, and it’s a tight fit (by design) so that it wouldn’t be easy to remove.

NoiseMaster X

The side of the knob features a small hole that accepts a 3mm set screw. It’s a “headless” screw so using an hex wrench to tighten it up hides it inside the little slot. Extra insurance against the knob twisting or coming off.

NoiseMaster X

And here’s the 3D model of the small plate that goes under the button to hide the spot where I drilled the hole too wide. All good. Ready to go!

This is just one post in a series about noisemakers. Check out the other posts as well:

2017.10.29

NoiseMaster VIII

We’re back after a short break with another noisemaker! Oh yeah, there’s a whole series of these things, all of which were shown at Maker Faire Milwaukee in 2017. (More links are at the bottom of this post.)

NoiseMaster VIII

I built this one very quickly while Maks was using my shop. I tried to stay out of his way and built it off to the side while he was using the workbench. I grabbed an Arduino Leonardo I had on hand and I just stuck some wires in the header pins and stuck them down with gaff tape. I also hot glued a small speaker into place and added a small terminal block to wire things up. There’s a MicroUSB cable to provide power.

NoiseMaster VIII

This one was built with a bunch of scrap wood and MDF. The one tricky thing with this one was something I wanted to try with the button. I used a breadboard compatible button and mounted it on some perf board and drilled a hole through a 6mm piece of Baltic Birch and used a Forstner bit to pocket out a space for the square body of the button so it would sit flush. (This was meant as a test for a future project, so I was glad it worked out.)

NoiseMaster VIII

Super-boring looking! Fast build, no decoration, plain wood and MDF, with a few screws and a tiny button. Plain. Simple. Blah.

NoiseMaster VIII

This one did have what I considered a fun sound though. It’s pretty much a siren. Woo-Woo-Woo-Woo goes the noisemaker! I can’t remember where I got the code from but it uses freqout, so that’s exciting. Enjoy!

This is just one post in a series about noisemakers. Check out the other posts as well:

2017.10.15

NoiseMaster VII

The next noisemaker in this ongoing and seemingly never-ending series is one of my favorites. This time we’ve done away with any sort of real “enclosure” and everything is just mounted on a board. We’re also using a real Arduino on this one. It’s an Arduino Nano, which you can find online for approximately $3USD nowadays. It’s quite a step up from the ATtiny85 chips used in many of the previous noisemakers.

NoiseMaster VII

Even though we moved away from an enclosure on this one, we still have to mount things, so why not model and 3D print some things? We’ve got a button and a potentiometer as our controls, and each one has a small printed part to allow for mounting to the board.

NoiseMaster VI

Again, the best thing about 3D printing in this process is you can create exactly what you need. With bits of scrap wood you’re constantly cutting and drilling to get things the right size. With designing your own parts, you make what you need. Here’s a piece that holds the button I had and has a small hole near the base to allow wires to come out.

NoiseMaster VI

This piece holds the potentiometer. It’s the correct thickness to allow the potentiometer to fit and the shaft to go through the hole. The holes for mounting screws are also the exact dimensions needed to work with the #4 screws I had. Making things fit together is about 90% of making.

NoiseMaster VII

Here’s a neat trick. Remember all those hard drives we took apart? Well, I saved all the magnets, and they’re handy to have around. Since they are attached to pieces of metal with mounting holes on them, I screwed one down to the board…

NoiseMaster VII

…and it’s perfect to hold a speaker in place. Really. That speaker ain’t going nowhere! You can pull it off, but it’s on securely enough that it takes some force, and it’s not going to fall off or get knocked off easily.

NoiseMaster VII

The Arduino Nano is on one of my Nano BOB boards. I use these to allow screw terminal connections to a Nano. (I really should get these listed on my Tindie store one of these days.) Power is provided by a Mini USB cable, and yes, there’s two 3D printed standoffs under the PCB. As a bonus, the wires used were pulled out of some phone wiring I rescued from a dumpster.

NoiseMaster VII

I like this one so much, I may be reusing some of the parts in another build I’m working on. Hopefully I can post about that in the coming weeks.

This is just one post in a series about noisemakers. Check out the other posts as well:

2017.10.02

decagon-light-a

It’s been a while since Decagon Light (Part II), but we’re here with Part III! Thanks to Jason we (mainly he) finally got around to do the CNC work for this monstrosity. Becky then wired it up while I worked on the programming. (Thanks, Brinn Labs!)

decagon-light

Below is the small prototype again…

A post shared by Pete Prodoehl (@raster) on

Besides adding some new patterns, I modified the code so you can use any consecutive pins. For the LEDs I use pins 1 through 10, but for the lamps we’re using 2 through 11. (Don’t ask why.) I also added an logic flipper, because LEDs and relays work opposite, HIGH is LOW and LOW is HIGH, depending on which you are using, so yeah, a lot of the code writing was just to deal with the differences between two version of this thing. Anyway, I squashed the last bug today, so it’s all good. (I think.)

And here’s a short video of it in operation. There’s still work to do, but we’ve made great progress in the last two weeks. (And yeah, I really wanted it done before Maker Faire, but didn’t quite hit that deadline.)

You’ll notice the design of the lines changed a bit. It’s still a decagon (a 10-sided polygon) but it’s no longer a 9-simplex. It’s almost a 5-orthoplex, but not quite. If you can figure out exactly what it is, let me know.

2017.09.27

Moxie

A large part of the Power Racing Series is Moxie. Moxie is best described as, being awesome. The crowd gets to vote for your car using the Moxie Board. Each button press equals a vote. Being fast is one way to get points, but another way is by being awesome… so, Moxie.

Above you’ll see a photo of the official Moxie Board used by the series. Since we also had a PPPRS race during Maker Faire Milwaukee, which overlapped the race in New York, we had to build our own Moxie Board, so here’s what we did…

The Moxie Board

It looks fairly similar, but it’s a bit smaller and lighter than the original, and it’s got 24 buttons instead of 30 (though I believe the original was recently expanded to have that 30 buttons. Who knew there’d ever be that many cars in a race!)

I got some Coroplast from Midland Plastics for super cheap, and they didn’t have any wide enough, so the black strip running down the center is gaff tape used to hold two pieces together to be wide enough. I then found some scrap wood in the shop at work which was long enough, but too skinny to be used for anything else, and built a simple frame with some small blocks of HDPE in the corners to hold it all together. (I was told the reduced weight of this Moxie Board was a big plus.)

The front is screwed into the wood frame, and the back is held in place with some VELCRO┬« hook and loop so we could open it to get to the electronics…

As for the inside and the electronics, while the original uses an Arduino Mega with a Bluetooth module to send real-time updates to Patrick’s Android phone which is running some special app, I chose to do it differently.

moxie-board-04

I’m using a Teensy 3.5 which has plenty of input pins and a built-in MicroSD card slot. The way it works is simple, each button represents a number from 1 to 24, and when pressed, the Teensy gets the value of every button, with the ones not being pressed equal to 0 and the one being pressed equal to 1, and then writes it to a file called MOXIE.csv. When the race is over you just put the MicroSD card in a card reader and import the CSV file into a spreadsheet and grab the last row. (Hopefully your spreadsheet is set up with the names of the cars in the corresponding columns.)

In testing, this all worked fine, but obviously the real world had to come along and crush my hopes and dreams…

moxie-board-05

Failure #1: Because the Teensy is a low power device, it doesn’t draw much power from the USB battery pack we were using. I’ve seen this before, so I use a battery pack with a built-in LED “flashlight” that stays on, as long as you press and hold the button when turning it on. I told this to two people, but forgot to write instructions to put inside the Moxie Board, so there’s a chance this was not done properly and power was lost. (There is an indicator LED that lights up when a button is pressed, but not a “POWER ON” LED which would have helped… maybe.

Maybe Failure #2: It could be that my code isn’t quite right. I do not have the most recent code that the official Moxie Board is running, but I have an older version that may be close. My code is a little different, but should yield the same results… I think. This is worth checking on.

I also do not have a good way to attach Moxie Labels, so they are just attached with tape or Hook and Loop for now. Ran out of time for anything better. :/

One more note! In the photo there’s a bunch of green wire and LEDs attached to the front of the Moxie Board. Those were added for the night race. All the actual wiring for the Moxie Board is located on the inside.

moxie-board-03

I’ve heard of one other group working on a Moxie Board that will use a Raspberry Pi, which I thought about doing as well, but ended up choosing a Teensy instead. As we add more races, we’re going to need more boards, so I’m hoping we see more ideas and eventually come up with even better ideas. (Note that I wanted to stay simple because simple gets done while over-complex builds, while fun, don’t always get finished, or work properly. But then, who am I to talk!?)

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