It's a new year, and I already made friends with a robot. I'm naming her Millie, my Shapeoko.
The Shapeoko is a completely open hardware, open software, desktop CNC robot. There is no manual, no warrantee, no company that puts it's name on it. Basically you get a huge list of parts and it's up to the builder to configure. I referenced someone else's documented build, and strapped a dry erase marker to it. I loaded in a graphic I designed in illustrator, and off it went. Eventually it will have a cutting tool on the end, to mill out anything I want. I'm hoping to use this to not only make things I design, but enable it to make things on its own. Commence the skynet jokes. Here are some rando ideas I wanna try:
- Etch tweets into stone
- Extrude mascarpone cheese
- Control it controlling MIDI controller (wrap your brain around that shit)
- Audio-influenced camera motion control
Some technical things:
- The Arduino has a GRBL Shield strapped to it. GRBL (pronounced garble) an open source protocol for motorized X, Y and Z axis control. Remember graphs in algebra? Yeah me neither, but Millie does.
- GRBL reads something called Gcode, which basically looks like this " X1 Y-1 Z1," which means, move the X axis 1, the Y axis -1, and the Z axis 1. A big list of these commands in sequence tell the robot where to go, and what to draw.
- These commands are sent via serial USB. Right now, a GCode sender application sends all this data. I'm hoping to eventually send these serial commands with software that I've written.