Here is a flex circuit project that I was working on a few months ago over break. It’s a tree with 20 blue charlieplexed LEDs. Controlled by an ATtiny85. Check out the project video! (with a cheesy video intro)

The nickname for the project is Yggflexisil. It’s sort of like the tree from myths called Yggdrasil, but this one is flexi because it’s made out of flexible material.

The inspiration for this project came from Blinky Buildings, which is from the Building Open Source Hardware book by Alicia Gibb (a director of OSHWA)!

All of the documentation can be found on my new project wiki. It’s named Robo-Phoenix Laboratory because no matter how many times things will “go down in flames”, a new (robo) phoenix will arise. Quite poetic, and of course phoenixes are cool creatures. Source files are available on Github.

Thanks to my backers on Patreon for supporting this video!

Here are some of the highlights of the project-

NinjaFlex resist on the Pyralux:


Had to make some tiny cuts for threads of the NinjaFlex that might accidentally bridge the traces:


After etching. The boards caught the light in a nice way:


Soldering all of the wires. Resistors are 0805. The 8 pin DIP socket looks giant compared to them:


Completed with a 3D printed base. Coolios RoboBrrd seems to like it!


If you want to see all of the steps, check it out here

Until next time!

Flexure Mech Prototype, Points in Antimony

Just finished a week of Fab Academy where I learned a lot of info and tried new things! There were some interesting fails and challenges along the way. The first half was creating a flexure mechanism, and the second half was learning a little about function representations and importing points into Antimony.

Here are the highlights, if you want to read all of the details please see my Fab Academy page!

To continue working on the robot project, I created the first test of a flexure mechanism. It is based on Flex-16.

3D printed in PLA. Uses a micro servo and a paper clip linkage:


Here you can see the flexibility of it (though this was in ABS):


There is too much movement in the z axis to make it useful in the robot idea (see vine video above). Have an idea on how to make the next one. Flexure mechanisms are pretty cool, I’m excited to try to build a robot with them.

For the scanning aspect, I wanted to be able to display slices of a 3d model in Antimony and maybe blend two models together.

Here was a first attempt that failed:

tri top view

Went to the idea of just displaying shapes where the points are. It sort of resembles the Stanford Bunny:

bunny view

Created a node for Antimony that reads in the points. 3 of them in action to display the pieces of the Fab Lab logo:

fab logo reading node

More info about these is on my Fab Academy page.

Lots of electronics coming up next. In the lecture, I can’t believe people used to use tape to make circuit boards by hand! The fab modules has an EDA tool where you can make the board by typing commands. It will be interesting to try it out compared to my previous gEDA experiments.

Robot Base Prototyping

This is the first part at my initial prototype of my final project for Fab Academy. It’s a continuation of my Solve for X moonshot robot idea.

Fab Academy is a global distributed class for learning how to make (almost) anything at Fab Labs around the world. I’m participating remotely, my remote guru is Shawn Wallace from AS220 in Providence, Rhode Island. He actually gave RoboBrrd a Maker Faire Editor’s Choice ribbon in the past! Cool! I will be visiting EchoFab in Montreal, Quebec to do some of the lab work too.

Check out my Fab Academy page for this week- Computer Aided Design. So far it is quite a neat experience even as a remote student. I’m psyched for FA all the time, what a cool opportunity! It will be what I make of it, so keeping my eyes open to try new things and challenge myself.

As I learn more each week at Fab Academy, I’ll be able to improve on the final project design for next time. The reason why I’m starting now is to hopefully have a simple demo done for Maker Faire Bay Area or even RoboGames.

Alright, finally, let’s bring on the images and captions from the prototyping process!

Working on creating a base for connecting multiple robots together. There are a few requirements that I had in mind- mainly it has to be able to fold up, and has to be light weight.

Here’s a cross section of the base. It uses internal 3d printed hinges.


The hinge design is parametric. We actually got the dimensions right for 3dp on the first try:



Added littleBits to the ends as the prototype module connectors. Here’s what it looks like folded up:


Assembling it! (Cool sounds in this Vine!)

Here’s what it looks like all assembled with links holding it in place:



Connecting it in different ways:


This was a neat surprise- the modules do not have to be flat along a surface. The connectors are on a piece that swivels, so here you can see they are at 90 degrees to each other:


What if one of the links was bent? That might be cool. I tried to print this:


Had a filament jam:


Finally it worked (had to print with supports, lame)- but conceptually I messed up on the part. Derp derp.


That’s all for now. Next step I’m working on is the first robot to be placed on this base, followed by creating a spec for the controller board and interface board. (So that I can order the components early and they will get here maybe on time)