I treated myself to a Chinese Import CNC Printer a couple of months ago, these machines fall at the affordable end of the CNC market. It will not be a surprise then that they arrive with very few frills included. You get an aluminium constructed machine, a control box with some cheap and not always cheerful controlling electronics. and a box of starter mill ends and bed clamps. Once I had my machine up and running, it became obvious that controlling dust was going to take priority.
Some hacked together projects are born to solve problems, some provide proof of concept. This project did neither, I did it because one day I had an idea that I thought would be cool and so I just did it.
The project itself is pretty simple, but I think the result is as cool as I had hoped. Dear Internet, I give to you my robotic keyboard.
A while ago I became interested in mechanical keyboards and now use them both at home and at work. These days most of the mechanical keyboards on the market use a switch made by Cherry, but there is a huge amount of support amongst enthusiasts for a much older keyboard, the IBM model M.
It is still very much possible to find one of these keyboards as the construction of the keyboard makes them incredibly durable, even against prolonged use and abuse. The other reason that they are available is that the range of IBM model M keyboards were in production from between 1984 right up to the current day albeit under 3 different manufacturers (IBM, Lexmark and Unicomp). I recently purchased a 122 key terminal keyboard, an unusual version of the Model M. Here is the steps that I took to bring it into it's second career as a USB 121 key keyboard.
Recently my attention was drawn to a UART-ETH-WIFI module (serial port - Ethernet - Wireless network) that is incredibly cheap and incredibly flexible. I have been playing around with it and have managed to use it to connect my Reprap printer to a wireless network. It have it tested and can confirm that it works between Pronterface and the RAMPS board running Marlin firmware. What is cooler still is that with a little port forwarding I can upload files and control my 3D printer from anywhere in the world!
It took a little fiddling around to achieve this so i thought that i would produce a simple guide for anyone who wants connected! This guide uses software designed to work on Microsoft Windows, though I am sure that Linux and Mac have equivalent packages that could also be used.
I have been using Windows 8 on my Lenovo Ideapad for some time now. It is fair to say that Windows 8 has been the unlucky recipient of a huge amount of criticism and it is also fair to say that this criticism has been fair. So when Windows 8.1 Beta came out I could not resist its pull for too long and decided that installing a possibly buggy beta was preferably to tolerating the mess that is Windows 8 for any longer…. Then I tried to program an ATtiny85 and found the drivers did not work! Happily I fixed it.
Since building my first RepRap Prusa V1 printer over a year ago, I have been gradually updating the machine, improving it’s print quality as I go on. One of the areas that I have managed to improve upon quite a bit is the y Axis of the machine. The original Prusa had a fairly complex sprung print bed which was less than ideal. in order to improve upon it I both used ideas from the V2 Prusa and developed my own very simple adjusting mechanism to all but eliminate backlash in the Y direction. Here is how.