Week 13: Machine Design

Assignment: Use the modules to automate a machine

This week’s assignment was to use the Machines that Make: Modular Control tutorial made by Nadya Peek and CBA to create some sort of automated machine. We were supposed to work in groups. Our group decided to make a hot glue gun sculpture making machine. A sketch of the machine idea is below.

We started by laser cutting the modules and assembling them. I helped out with this process. One of the tricky parts was getting the holes to align accordingly since the modules are actually not symmetric even though they appear to be. Beyond that, assembly was pretty straight forward so we got all the pieces ready to go pretty quickly.

Once the assembly was done I worked on getting the software set up on my computer. We had some trouble running it on Chrome on Mac so ended up having to download Firefox to get it working. It also worked in the Linux VM I had running. With that ready to go, I helped out with getting the ribbon cables ready to go for a bit. The clamping was actually kind of difficult to get right, but Randi helped me figure out how to do it. Right before we could finish the last one, the fire alarm went off so we all had to leave the building 🙁

We managed to get the axis assembled and the wiring in place. We also managed to run the Python software going. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to finish the entire machine due to a mixup over the location of the machine, but we almost got there and it was a lot of fun!



  • modular machines

    modular machines

  • laser cutting

    laser cutting