Happy Birthday, and variations thereupon

Northackton is 3 years old this month.  The exact week can be derived from reading the first few posts in the archives, and/or by looking at flickr, but I won’t spoil it for you.  To celebrate, Andy had suggested an informal competition to produce devices that play the Happy Birthday tune.

A number of entries were made, and here they are for your enjoyment:
Andy’s recreation of our first attempt to play music bottles with servos.  He authentically captured our discovery that servos aren’t very good at this
Andy’s second entry was an Arduino piezoplayer:
Adrian made a xylophone using old pinball chime solenoids.  It only had three notes, but it played them really well!
Mine was another Arduino player, but with a mini speaker in a little box.  I don’t have any video of it yet, it’ll have to go up in a second post.
However the show was stolen by newcomers Mike and James who came for help making their ring modulator work.  Happily they’d got it almost entirely right, and some slight tweaking and a lot of soldering produced a very special song.

Call for help

I spent another interesting weekend assembling the spider framework. It was quite the challenge because it is extremely large and trying to do it on my own our back garden just adds to the fun of it all. It went well and despite a wet day on Sunday I managed to get something up and standing on my Monday off (yay for valentines day). It is mostly solid but it has an alarming amount of twist around the vertical. I’ve tried to reduce this with some cross braces from the fist joint back to the body and I’ll need to assemble it again to see if it works. While it’s up I’d like to add the cardboard cladding to the body to see how that is going to work too. But I’m going to need a hand or two.

I’ll be taking the spider over to NSME on Sunday 20th Feb at 1pm and will be assembling it there and hopefully getting it to look a little bit like the final spider we want. If you’re in the area please drop by and lend a hand it would be most appreciated, there is plenties of screwing, measuring and cutting to be done (in cardboard and wood) so lots to keep people occupied, plus you’ll have the satisfaction of helping this project actually get to maker faire.

Spider Bot Update

Spent some time this week assembling the leg panels that I cut last week. This is the first time I’m able to see how big these box sections are going to be and what we actually have to transport up north for the maker faire. These are only 4 of the legs currently put together but as you can see in the other images, the sections for all 8 legs have been cut.

There is discussion with the Maker Faire people about how much space we have available. So potentially we have offered to only assemble the front half of the spider. This is appealing because all the work for this has already been done. I’ll happily go on and do the rest but there are many projects I could also be working on, so this is put on hold until we hear more.

Spider Head Trial

Been a while since the last spider update, there was a pause over Christmas where I ran out of cardboard. My problems were solved with a trip to Halfords, they get lots of bicycle boxes which are all massive and double thick cardboard. I’ve started to turn these into the legs for the spider bot and have currently cut the pieces for the top two sections on all eight legs. I’ve decided to redo the first leg with this newer/nicer cardboard so all the legs will be similar.

The design for the wooden frame is also complete but it will take a little effort to assemble it and I’m still a little worried about how much weight it will have to hold and the 6.5m span between them, guess there will be another trial at some point and a test leg or two.

This evening I complete parts of the head and then tacked the parts together to see what it would all look like. Photos are still being added to the album of course.

Cardboard Features

I just noticed that I hadn’t put up a post about the leg and facial features that Phil and I made (probably 2 weeks ago now). We started with a single leg section, the smallest of the bunch and it’s still mahoosive. It’s going to be an interesting project and I suddenly realised we’re going to need a lot more cardboard. So I’m scouring Freecycle and approaching the usual suspects. What I really need though is a single large piece for the head. I really want that to be made from one as it is a nice curve. It’s 0.8 wide and 2M long, if anyone spots a suitable piece then nab it.
The photos are in the usual picassa album and a few sampled below