Wednesday, May 28, 2008

00267 Herm trip yields Pooh Stick again

Outriggers are becoming a little too easy and I'm really looking fro something new. But they make nice boats and the other pooh stick I made with this one just blew over and sank, so this is the winner by default:

Shell Beach pooh stick Shell Beach pooh stick

00266 Eggs as promised

Here's the images of the egg from the video below. This was the first time I've made one so soon after high tide. As a result there was a pool of sea water waiting for me about six inches from the surface, not necessarily a bad thing, mind.

Petit port egg Petit port egg

I quite like the in situ image. It's subtle but noticeable.

Monday, May 26, 2008

00265 Egg video

SO we went to Petit Port today and with all this new time-lapsey stuff, it only seemed right and proper that there be a video of egg making. And lo! there was an egg video:

Images of the egg to follow.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

00264 Pre-programmed robot

So I made a new robot and this time it's got these dual-in-line (DIL) switches. Basically it means that by using different combinations of switches I can call up a particular routine (or pattern) and then execute it by pressing the red button. What it really means is that I don't have to keep going back to the computer to change the settings of a particular pattern to try out different types, I can just load it up with a whole lot of patterns and see what they all look like. This'll make it easier and more productive (?) when I take it to a beach.
I can only take pictures of the patterns at night, so progress is slow, but I'm quite pleased with the offset spiral below. Not perfect, but came out reasonably well and almost as expected.

Robot 3 Offset spiral

The idea, although the offset spiral doesn't show it too well, is that one colour of LEDs traces straight lines and another traces the curves/turns. I'm probably going back to the multicolour LED for now, seeing as it doesn't help me to envisage what the patterns would look like on the sand.

Monday, May 19, 2008

00263 Appeal

So after the spirographic robot patterns thing appeared in the Make Blog, I'm appealing to anyone savvy (knowledgeable) enough to recommend a dummies guide to attaching two 14v drill motors to the PICAXE chip. The idea is to run the robot off a motorbike battery (or similar) so that I can generate enough power to leave decent imprints in the sand. I'm imagining two full bridge chips like these, one for each motor and I'm assuming that the PICAXE will generate enough of a signal from an output channel to control the full bridge chips. Then I'm assuming that the Full bridge chips will be able to handle between 10V and 20V to drive the drill motors. I'm such a novice, I guess I'm just hoping that I won't burn anything out, or worse, that I'll solder it all together and nothing will happen.

The previous idea of leaving one enormous pattern hasn't been completely ditched, but has been replaced by the concept of around 10-20 patterns accessed by using tiny DIL switches attached to the PICAXE inputs, four switches giving 4 factorial (=24) possible input combinations and therefore 24 patterns that I can call up on demand. Take the robot to the beach and let it draw numerous, maybe interlocking patterns and then KAPing them like I did with the rake art.

To do the KAPing I need POWER to make a really decent impression in the sand by dragging a rake/plough shaped object behind or underneath the robot. Your input would be most excellent and there would be much love (although I am married, so there might be some love-limits).

Don't even mention the possibility of PICAXE powered pooh sticks

Saturday, May 17, 2008

00262 Living area tables

The need for a place to do all this robot/painting/otherrubbish stuff has meant that there is an increased need for the design and manufacture of two tables for the living area. Here's an underside view that will show the idea:

Three legged living area tables

The idea is that they come away from the wall and fit together to give us a square table with seating fro four, but with nobody having to endure "a leg":

Three legged living area tables together

Friday, May 16, 2008

00261 Further developments

This is the latest installment of the robot stuff for making patterns in the sand. So I managed to get the motors of the robot to run at different speeds in order to do smooth curves. It makes things a bit easier in a way. Describing curves is possible by looking at it as line segments, but waaaaaay easier if you can incrementally adjust the motor speed settings. Here's the latest offering, a 760 second exposure - it's certainly a little more interesting:


And here's the perpetrator, or as I'm calling it "The Perpetrator":

The Perpetrator

The servo will be for lowering the stick/rake/device onto the sand. Yes, even I think that it might not work quite perfectly. Perhaps the trick will be to cause as much disruption to the surface of the sand with the least mechanical effort, so as not to strain motors and waste batteries. The real knack will be in doing a pattern which will be photographable (even I don't know if that a real word, my spell checker says it's not - blaaaaaaaaaah).

And here's the code for the PICAXE:

let w1 = 3000 'forwards length
let w2 = 4000 'pulse width
let w3 = 120 'turn period (via loop)
high 0

check: let b1 = pins
if b1 = 000010 then
low 0
pause 2000
goto main
end if
goto check

high 4 high 7 'forwards
pause w1
high 4
for w0 = 1 to w3 'turn
pulsout 7,w2
pause w0
next w0
low 4 low 7 'stop turning
goto main

I'm so inefficient at programming, but it gets the job done, so hey.

D'you know, I almost forgot to say that the coolest and smallest thing on this robot is the RGB LED - how else would I get multicolour light lines for 50p?

00260 Robot patterns

So the new robot, with two motors (pictures to follow soon) is programmed and creating some simple patterns. To get an idea of how they would look, I used a long exposure (around 76 seconds for the spiral). Real bummer having to wait until dark 'till I could take them.

Spiral 1 Zig zag 1

The spiral would work well if there were loads of them all over the sand, especially if I could do a double spiral, starting in the center of one and ending in the center of the other to give a kind of "figure 8" look.

As soon as I've figured out whether or not I can control the motor speeds, I might be able to form some more complicated patterns.

00259 Pinholer

An explanation to Jonah of how a camera works got a little out of hand the other day and ended up in a project lasting around an hour. Reasonable results, very educational (hopefully for Jonah too).

Pinhole camera front Pinhole camera back Pinhole camera result

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

00258 Port Soif boats

Went down to Port Soif with Drew and Boz the other day. Thought I's do a proper race this time. Perfect conditions, but I rushed two of the boats and as a result they never really had a chance.
Here's the boats:

Port Soif boats

And here's the winner:

Port Soif boat Port Soif boat

00257 Robot parts arrive

I've just taken possession of a PICAXE chip and starter kit:


And set to work making a robot with any bits available. In this case I've added a motor and a a servo:

First robot

It works OK, but I think it'll go better with two motors (in the post) and even better with two 14v drill motors. The latter will need alot of forward planning and I'll probably have to buy a unit to cope with the increased voltage needed to drive the bigger motors. Then I'll be able to stick a motorbike battery on board and get down to the beach for some cyber-raking action.

I'll also consider attaching an LED to the 'bot in the meantime and do a long exposure of it moving in the dark to see how the movements over the sand might turn out.

00256 New Pooh Group

I started a Pooh Sticks group on Flickr, probably rather prematurely after reading someone's comments on on of the images and after seeing one other boat on Flickr.

Hey, but wait! There's one member in the group!

... oh, hang on, it's me.

Friday, May 02, 2008

00255 One by one

I was thinking of starting a group called "One by one" with the idea that the videos could be of ant subject as long as it involved the addition of one object at a time (or the taking away for that matter) using time-lapse photography. Anyway I had a moment to spare and did this:

Must remember to set the camera to manual to get the full effect next time.

00254 Petit Port and Lihou

Two more pooh sticks, the first from Petit Port. If only I'd taken the time to add a keel, then it wouldn't have blown over:

Feathered boat at Petit Port

The second a more successful and very much larger affair, would have reached the colonies if it hadn't been for the damn onshore winds:

Liouh headland boat