AFSR: Z-Axis Carriage Progress (Part 3)

In our latest adventures of the Automatic Food Slicer Robot, we continued to work on the encoder- coming up with code to move its position by a given number of ticks.


We also added buttons to detect when the gear set hits the ends.


The most challenging part of this update was figuring out that the motor was overshooting the encoder by 1-2 ticks, and trying to fix this.


The drive gear broke, so we created a new one:


View of the breadboard:


In action:

You can read the update on the project over on Hackaday for all the details on the various prototypes and design iterations!

AFSR: Z-Axis Carriage Progress (Part 2)

In our latest adventures of the Automatic Food Slicer Robot, we advanced further into the build of this sub-assembly. Now the Z-Axis can slide along the racks, and we started creating the DIY encoder.


The most challenging part of this update was getting the DIY encoder set up to show different readings for the dark/light stripes.

We also solved the existing rack warping problem.


You can read the update on the project over on Hackaday for all of the details about the design iterations!



Promulgate is an Arduino library with a very simple protocol to allow communication from Arduino to other devices.

Check out the video to see it in action!

The library was designed so that you can add Promulgate quickly to a project. It is very simple to parse and transmit messages.

To get started, go to There is an example and boilerplate code for Arduino and Processing.

The code is available in this repository.

If something breaks in the library or could be improved, feel free to let us know. We’re constantly learning, so if it’s wrong, we might not have even realised this.

You can also see our post about our two Promulgate + iOS demos.

We were looking back at our log notes for the entire project last night. It took 23 days to create Promulgate, spanning across 40 days. Each day was 1 hour (give or take) of total focus. This includes the library, two iOS demos, Xbee demo, and documentation.

Just thought we would share this info about the development time. It’s actually a little personal to us, since we aren’t exactly lightning fast (we need to improve our pace). Though, it brings up an interesting point in evaluating success of a project. Do any other makers think about this beforehand?

For Promulgate we had a few factors in mind that would make it a success (to us). Most importantly, completing the project to our best quality, and our meticulous documentation so that it will be easy to make a quick demo even if we have not looked at the code in 3 months.

Making a good demo video of it in action was also important to us, because we are lucky enough to have the support of our Robo-Patron backers on Patreon. Our original video of this project was very monotone and not as fun, so we entirely scrapped it and started over.

Sharing it with others, hopefully seeing it be used in some projects, and learning about improvements from the community are also factors. These ones are tricky though, as it can really depend on the project if people enjoy it or not. It is nice when they do, though.

Evaluating the success of a project depends on a myriad of factors. The best part is that it is done now… so on to the more fun apps. “If hardware is the heart of a project, then software is its soul”.

This work was supported by our great Robo-Patrons. Consider backing us on Patreon to help us make more projects!