For the Stetson Startup Pitch we decided to build a computer which could sense both the moisture and the pH content of the soil including, then send that information to an android phone via bluetooth. This was done by using both a YuroBOT moisture sensor, an arduino UNO (from the sparkfun kit borrowed graciously from the Innovation House), a basic PH sensor bought from amazon, a HC-06 bluetooth transmitter and receiver, some resistors, and a basic breadboard.
The sensors were simply plugged into their respective ports on the ardiuno UNO, the bluetooth sensor was used in conjunction with a library found online with all the bluetooth commands needed, and then we found a simple potted plant to test all of our sensors.
After getting all of the sensors to work we calibrated them. For the moisture sensor we simply used the zero value as our lowest value, then to get the maximum value we placed the moisture sensor into a cup of water, after that whatever value we got was divided by our maximum plus our minimum. For the pH sensor we used the difference of the values received over out line to define our value. We then stated our minimum to be coffee (pH value of 5), which there was alot of at the Stetson Startup, and our maximum to be soapy water (pH value of 12). Once all of the sensors were calibrated we then stored the last 40 values and averaged them to display a simple smooth transition of sensor ouput values.
Our current sensor only gets the Moisture, and light amount; only because a pH sensor will slowly degrade over time, and the cheaper the sensor the faster it degrades and the worse the values will be.
Above image is that of the current sensor with an arduino UNO.
Our Stetson Startup team. From left to right David Edwards, Christian Micklisch, and Christian Casadio. Nathan Hilliard is not included, but was also in the team
Stetson library now has two 3D printers available for student use. If you would like to use one of these printers ask at the circulation desk. Although they are Makerbot products like the one at Innovation House, they are slightly different. These are the Makerbot 2X machines, which feature dual filament extruders but with a slightly smaller build plate. Also note the hour restrictions in the attached photo. Still, they are there to be used, so go nuts on them. When you get kicked out you can always come back to Innovation House on the sketchy side of campus.
[update: power fully restored on 11/14, 3D printer working on shorter jobs--haven't fully investigated the problem on long jobs yet]
I sent the following e-mail out to all registered users of IH today:
We are having a couple of issues at Innovation House that I need to notify you about.
1. There seems to a partial power outage. This is affecting the outlets in and near the closet. Unfortunately this includes all network capabilities (including the dropcam). I put in a call to facilities to work on it (after I checked the breakers of course).
2. The makerbot 3D printer is giving thermal shutdown faults on long print jobs. We have started working with Makerbot to sort this out. I tried a 20 minute print and it was fine. Anything over a hour may not finish until we get this fixed.
I will send another e-mail when these problems have been resolved.
Things happen and I hope to have a 100% operational death star again soon.
Now that people have had a chance to print out stuff from Thingiverse.com it’s time to get more creative with the 3D printer. Autodesk has an interesting free product called 123D Catch (http://www.123dapp.com/catch). This allows you to take a series of photos of a 3D object, upload them to their cloud service–which stitches them together into a 3D model, and print the model out.
I tried it this morning with a gargoyle off of my bookcase and got a decent result with very little clean up time.
This is encouraging enough that I think we should schedule a night to make copies of things. Things may include people in the room. Here is a poll for you to vote on which night next week to do this. Pick the night that will work best for you.
123D Catch experimentation session is Tuesday, Oct 29 at 6:30 pm
You will want to bring:
- Something to copy (could be yourself).
- Something to take pictures with (cell phone, camera, webcam). You will need to upload your pictures to the 123D site.
- A laptop, ipad, or iphone.
We will not be able to print all the models out in one night, but can certainly capture a bunch of stuff and work on preparing it for printing.
One of the intriguing pieces of equipment we have on hand is a vacuum forming machine (a Centroform Ezform 1217). It’s time to learn how to use it effectively.
After a miserable failure with some plastic from Home Depot designed to diffuse fluorescent lights, I decided to order some proper materials and give it a go with small objects laying about. Below are some pictures from this semi-successful attempt. The plastic is 0.03″ PTGCE-PETG, recommended as the easiest to start vacuum forming with. All of these parts were done on a single sheet, which costs about $3.50 per sheet.
The 3D printed octopus molded really well. I was concerned that the hot vacuum form plastic would stick to the PLA the octopus is made out of, but it worked with no problem and it preserved a lot of the detail. The brass hood from a soldering station also worked out fairly well, although you can see where the plastic didn’t pull completely tight around the bottom, probably because the sharp edges popped the plastic in the middle opening, resulting in a loss of suction. The piece of white coral molded ok but with a significant loss of detail. The wooden blocks show the limits of this technique–the high straight sides led to significant folding in the plastic.
Of course this was my first real attempt so I am sure it could have been done better.
We need to schedule a vacuum forming night soon. I’ll do that shortly.
Panic Android wind up walker (“run away!”). What have you printed in Innovation House?