Powering small robots could be considered the specialty of Arduino boards, but what if you want to control something much bigger? There are, of course, ways to do this, but larger motors are naturally more difficult to source. This hasn’t deterred YouTuber The Post Apocalyptic Inventor, however, who has been exploring the use of European-style washing machine motors to drive a large steel tubing robot chassis.
While the project is not yet finished, he’s turned to an Arduino Uno for experimental control along with a variety of other components to provide the proper power.
Be sure to check out video below of this robot-in-progress if you’re interested in “beefing up” your next project!
Giving away buttons at Maker Faires or trade shows is a great way to promote your brand, but what if you want to dispense these trinkets in style? That was the idea behind this automated button dispenser mechanism from Jeremy S. Cook, which drops buttons one at a time, and uses a capacitive sensor to detect when someone presses a marked “activation circle” on its base.
When triggered, the Arduino Uno commands two servo motors in sequence to release the lower button, while holding the other stacked buttons in place. The button-in-motion then proceeds down a 3D-printed slide, shooting out into the receiver’s hands—or floor depending on one’s reflexes!
Be sure to check out the build process in the video below, and you can find code/print files on GitHub if you’d like to make your own!
Microfluidics deals with the manipulation of tiny amounts of liquid, and as such, specialized equipment must be used for any sort of measurable experimentation. While you could purchase an expensive commercial solution, the Poseidon system—developed by students at the California Institute of Technology—presents an excellent open source option which can be built for a fraction of the cost.
Fluid distribution is managed by a computer GUI or via a terminal window. Steppers handle each of the system’s three “axes,” and push fluid out of syringes under control of an ArduinoUno and CNC shield. A microscope is also available for a full experimental setup.
The Poseidon syringe pump and microscope system is an open source alternative to commercial systems. It costs less than $400 and can be assembled in an hour. It uses 3D-printed parts and common components that can be easily purchased either from Amazon or other retailers. The microscope and pumps can be used together in microfluidics experiments, or independently for other applications. The pumps and microscope can be run from a Windows, Mac, Linux, or Raspberry Pi computer with an easy to use GUI.
The Poseidon system was designed to be customizable. It uses the Raspberry Pi and Arduino electronics boards, which are supported by a strong ecosystem of open source hardware and software, facilitating the implementation of new functionalities.
The pump driver uses an Arduino with a CNC shield to run up to three pumps. Each pump has a stepper motor that drives lead screw which in turn moves a sled that is mounted on linear bearings. The displacement of the sled moves the syringe forward or backward allowing the user to dispel or intake liquid.
The controller station uses a Raspberry Pi with a touchscreen to connect to the Arduino and microscope via USB. Because the microscope and Arduino use USB connections, they can alternatively be connected to a computer instead of a Raspberry Pi.
Whether one of your senses is weak or non-existent, or you would simply like a way to augment your perception and control options, the Cthulhu Shield can be applied in either situation.
The device takes the form of an Arduino Uno or Mega shield, with a strange flexible electrode setup that is placed directly on the user’s tongue.
When these electrodes are fired, they activate nerve fibers on the tongue, producing a feeling like that of carbonated bubbles popping. This can then be used to convey information to the user, whether this is visual, sound, or even Internet updates or other non-traditional stimuli. Importantly, it can also be utilized as an interface for tongue computer control.
The Cthulhu Shield lets anyone experiment and make devices that can expand your sensory experience!
We’ve made android apps and example programs that will let you use the Cthulhu Shield and your smartphone to ‘see’ and ‘hear’ with your tongue without needing to write a single line of code!
For those of you interested in making your own projects, we’ve written an easy to use Arduino library and provided example code to get you started on projects including tongue-heat-vision, tongue-based GPS directions, and soon, tongue-ultrasonic hearing. But don’t limit yourselves to the examples we’ve provided, the only limit to what you can make is your imagination!
Finally, we designed the Cthulhu to be used as a tongue based computer interface (because if you already have something in your mouth, why not use it to control your computer)? Write your own code to hotkey video game actions, send text messages, or control a wheelchair or mobility device with your tongue.
Waking up before 9am can be a challenge for Nikodem Bartnik, but he also hates to waste time sleeping when he could instead make something.
In order to help him with this “joyous” task, he assembled a line-following robot that scoots his phone out of the room in the morning, forcing him to get out of bed and chase it down.
The device utilizes a pair of gearmotors in a standard tank-like configuration for movement, and sensors to follow a black line on the floor. A sound sensor allows its Arduino Uno controller to pick up on alarm sounds coming from his phone, which is mounted on the robot with a 3D-printed holder. When activated, it follows the path out of his room, waiting for Bartnik’s bleary eyed—but awake—arrival.
Bryan Kevan wanted to build his own bicycle, but wasn’t satisfied with purchasing a frame—or even ready-made tubing. He instead chose to create the frame from raw strands of carbon fiber.
The overall bike build is shown here, which necessitated him designing a variety of jigs, including a CNC wrapping machine.
His device uses an Arduino Uno, along with a pair of driver boards, to carefully roll strands of carbon fiber on a PVC mandrel in an overlapping pattern. Epoxy was dripped on the assembly during the process, resulting in CF rods that were lighter and much cheaper than purchased rods.
After quite a bit more work assembling everything together, Kevan now has a bike frame that is truly made to his specs!
Normally, boiling an egg involves heating water in a saucepan, then dropping an egg inside to be properly heated. James Bruton, however, now has a bit of help in the form of his breakfast-making robot.
The device uses two servos, along with a motor/encoder/screw assembly to rotate and lower the egg into place. It then takes it out after six minutes, and tips it out into a secondary container.
After letting his Arduino languish in a drawer for some time, Brandon Switzer decided to take it out and start experimenting. While he could have started off small, Switzer chose to instead create his own player piano system, completing it at a cost of around $650.
While the details of the project aren’t explicitly spelled out, you can see a time-lapse of this amazing build in the video below. As you can imagine, it took a massive amount of breadboard space to get all the electronics laid out, and a similarly impressive number of solenoids to activate all of the keys.
Additionally, he had to do plenty of mechanical work, including the cringeworthy job of actually drilling into a what appears to be a functional piano!
In early August 2017 I was looking to partake in some kind of engineering project that would be fun and also help me learn new things. For a long time I had an Arduino Uno that had been sitting in a drawer, and for the first time I took it out to experiment with it and create something new.
For a long time I had been inspired by player pianos — it’s something about the way the keys move on their own that make them so wonderful. I wanted to create something like that — something that didn’t only work but also impressed the viewer — for a cheap cost.
One of my goals in creating this was to show that it’s possible to replicate amazing things for little money, and I think I proved this. While a player system from Yamaha or Pianodisc cost upwards of $10,000, I built my own system for a measly $650. Not only that, but once you buy your $10,000 player piano, you have to purchase extra apps and songs if you actually want to play something on it. Overall I’m very satisfied with the way the piano turned out, and I’m excited to use it in the future.
If you need a motorized turntable for filming or simply to display your latest project, here’s an easy 3D-printable option from Ali of Potent Printables.
The design takes two forms—one using a full-sized hobby servo, and a smaller version that employs a micro servo for motion, both of which are set up for continuous rotation.
Electronics for the project are fairly straightforward, with an Arduino Uno powering the tables via an Adafruit Motor Shield. While this could be expanded for different I/O or sensor use, the clever bit of this configuration is its interchangeable design. A master circle is connected to the servo horn, while the swappable plates attach to it with magnets, accommodating a flat surface, mounting holes, or even LEGO bricks.
If you’ve ever been to an escape room, you’ve undoubtedly had to deal with a wide variety of puzzles that you have to solve in order to get out of the “prison” that you’ve willingly thrown yourself into. Beyond the puzzle that you’re trying to decode, the mechanisms used can be extremely clever, and coming up with a new device to use in these scenarios was a perfect challenge for this team of Belgian college students.
Based on the project requirements, they created a Roomba-like circular robot controlled by an Arduino Uno and motor shield that drives a pair of DC motors. The idea, while not fully implemented due to time constraints, is that it can be remotely operated only after solving a riddle and within a certain time period, then drive itself back to a designated spot once the game is over.
Here is a summary of what happens in the robot:
– The non-autonomous part: a remote controller is linked to Arduino through a receiver. Players control the remote and therefore control the Arduino which controls the motors. The Arduino is turned on before the game starts, but it enters the main function when players solve a riddle on the remote controller. An IR wireless camera is already turned on (turned on at the same time as the “whole” (controlled by the Arduino) when switch on/off turned on). Players guide the car with remote controller: they control the speed and the direction. When the timer that starts when the main function is entered is equal to 30 minutes, the control from the controller is disabled.
– The autonomous part: the control is then managed by the Arduino. After 30 minutes, the IR line tracker sensor starts following a line on the ground to finish the parcours.