MickMake’s Weekly Roundup #14!
We have 3D printing, LoRa and Bluetooth modules, a CAN bus logger, and… robots… again…
What is it about robots? Haven’t we learnt our lesson from Skynet?
Lot’s of stuff on KickStarter… like robots.
The Dobot M1 is actually quite a cool little robotic arm. Why? Well for $1400 US you get an arm that can 3D print, laser engrave, solder, pick and place using OpenCV. How accurate is it? 0.02mm accuracy.
If you’re looking for a robotic arm that does all your desktop manufacturing then this is it. For only $1400 US!
At the other end of the scale we have the ShopArm which is designed as a training tool for STEM education. It’s a 3D printed robotic arm that claims 0.5mm repeatability accuracy. That’s pretty good for a 3D printed arm for only $500 US!
Make your own robot! The QuadBot reminds me of the replicators from Stargate SG1, except I don’t think they’re sentient… yet…
It’s one of the better robots I’ve seen around, basically because it doesn’t have boring wheels. Contains an ATmega32u4, WiFi, bluetooth, LiPo and sensors to enable some basic kinematics. Most of the parts are 3D printed, and supports the Arduino IDE, LabView API and Ardublockly.
PUREmodules is a board that contains an nRF52832 SoC, accelerometer, coin cell holder, JTAG connector and NFC expansion header. It pushes out 20 GPIOs for you to play with.
The board has edge connectors so that you can connect to a variety of sensor and control boards such as thermal cameras, GPS and ethernet.
As part of this Kickstarter they’re also offering a super sensor board designed for health tracking.
The Avocado Pi is a small board designed for STEM education that attaches to a Raspberry Pi and comes with a variety of sensors and buttons. This is the second Kickstarter this guy has launched with the previous one being quite successful.
The FiPy, (I’m sure I’m going to get some heat for saying that wrong), is an ESP32 based all-in-one wireless module. It doesn’t just contain wireless and bluetooth, but also LoRa, Sigfox, and cellular LTE.
Holy cow, Batman! My expense budget has just been blown again. So stay tuned for a review on this when they’re shipped.
Oh, they also have a PySense and PyTrack board on offer that the FiPy slots into enabling motion sensing and GPS. Nice.
This is one of those things. This guy is converting old CRT oscilloscope displays into useful items, like a clock. It comes in kit format with everything except the CRT and housing. Note: CRTs contain very high voltages, so this one is only for experienced Makers.
Another STEM product that I was tossing up not to include. It’s a protoboard based board that really doesn’t give any details on what’s on it. I’ll be writing to this guy to get him to provide some more detail. So check back on this one if you’re interested.
The PDK64 is an industrial tablet platform containing a sunlight readable TFT touch display, Allwinnder A64 quad core running at 1.2GHz, 1G RAM, 8G flash, SD slot, WiFi, ethernet, and a standard Pi and Euler GPIO header. All for $118 US! Is this Kickstarter too good to be true? I’ll be keeping my eye on this one so stay tuned.
The SENTINEL is a small device you attach before your 3D print head which will both clean your filament before it gets to the head and also pause your printing should you run out. A nice little add on if you don’t have this functionality on your printer.
Oh, talking about 3D printing. I have to apologize for a guff I made in last week’s roundup. The Re-ARM board I mentioned doesn’t actually include the RAMPS board.
Thanks to skwisgar2322 for picking that up.
We’re starting to see a lot of alternatives to 3D printing. The SafFire is a laser SLA printer that is similar to last week’s UV based printer, but this one claims around 3 micron resolution with a slightly larger print volume.
Since it’s laser based it can also engrave and cut thin objects.
Another 3D printer, but this one is a photolithographic printer similar to the SafFire. It’s a huge rack sized thing that will print down into the material, but only claims 50 micron accuracy. It uses a standard 1080p projector for setting the resin.
The Fotric isn’t a traditional Maker product, but could be a useful addition to something like a drone. It’s a thermal camera designed to detect any abnormal heat. It claims much better accuracy at detecting a fire than traditional methods with a 80 by 80 pixel sensor and onboard analysis.
Hey! Another 3D printer! However, this one is big. Claiming a print volume of 600mm cubed down to 8 micron accuracy. It contains the Repetier firmware and Azteeg X3 Pro controller board. It’s a heavy duty machine designed to control either laser or traditional 3D print heads.
Oh, look! Another 3D printer. This one is slightly different in that it has 4 extruders. This one looks quite good, but the creator hasn’t put up any specs on the darn thing. If anyone can find any then add it into the comments below.
Unusually IndieGoGo seems to be busy.
Mioswitch provides a method to physically power on and off your 3D printer. It is based on the ESP8266 and also contains a power meter. So you can set it to automatically turn off when printing has finished, or by smartphone app.
If you already have a laser cutter and are getting frustrated with its low power then you can upgrade the laser module to something that will cut 19mm thick wood. Wow! It’s a fairly quick and easy replacement for your existing laser.
This one is apparently the best 3D printer for creative kids. The Yeehaw is a low cost printer that has a very simplified interface running off your tablet. Has an autolevelling platform and protective door to avoid any potential issues. Looks good.
Blocks Zero is another 3D printer. Man, I thought we had an oversupply of robots, it’s world domination from 3D printers we need to be careful of.
This one is designed to be an ultra portable version, claiming to print at 80mm/s on a 200mm cubed bed. That’s quick.
RabbitMax Flex is a Pi hat with a whole bunch of sensors and interfaces, like infrared, relay, 16×2 LCD header, UARTs, and headers for various I2C sensors.
I nice little hat if you want to sense stuff and act on it.
And only one in pre-launch on Crowd Supply.
imix is a development board in pre-launch on Crowd Supply. It contains a Cortex M4 MCU, Nordic NRF51 bluetooth, ZigBee, battery charging and sensors. You can individually control and monitor power to each sub-section and also contains an auditable random number generator.
Tindie and others
While on Tindie there’s no robots. I promise.
This a great self contained CAN bus logger. It supports bit rates up to 1Mbps and supports any 2.0A and 2.0B CAN interfaces. Has an SD slot supporting up to 32GB cards. If you want to be able to snoop on your vehicles CAN interface, then get one of these.
I mentioned the SlushEngine in a previous roundup, but this is a new model. The Model X LT is basically the same but without the UEXT expansion header.
The ESUS is a board targeted towards robotics. Contains the usual NodeMCU based ESP8266 and 2 full H-Bridges. Controlled via the Arduino IDE or Blockly.
Another NodeMCU ESP8266, but this one is an ultra compact version measuring only 35 by 27mm.
Pushed out all the GPIOs onto male and female headers so you can stack things on top like an LCD.
Are you an audio engineer? You might find this SPI to DMX512 controller handy. Has three DMX channels with the first capable of being either master or slave. Contains an onboard MCU that handles all the logic grunt work so all you have to do is speak SPI.
Yet another DC and stepper motor controller for the Pi. This one is capable of controlling up to 6 DC motors or 3 steppers. It also has two additional PWM connections for servos or LEDs.
Motor voltage from 2 to 11 volts and accessible over I2C.
The Zero Color was also in a previous roundup. This one is the next version with the only difference being an additional SPI and I2C pin out. It contains the same SSD1331 OLED and micro SD slot.
AdaFruit, Seeed, SparkFun, DFRobot, DigiKey
Over at Seeed there’s a heart rate and oxi-meter containing the MAX30102 which gives you heart rate and O2 blood absorption…
… and a bat detector. No, not the flying type. This handy little device will give you an estimate of just how much juice is left in your LiPo. Just connect and 4 LEDs will indicate the percentile.
Looking for an accurate ranging sensor? The VL53LOX breakout from AdaFruit is capable of measuring from 30mm to 1.2 metres at 5% accuracy. All working off 3 to 5 volts with logic level converters.
SparkFun have their nRF52832 breakout board operating at the usual 1.7 to 3.6 volts, but this also has an onboard regulator so it can be powered up to 6 volts.
The Cheap Side
The cheap side of town seems to be going wireless.
Over at BangGood there’s a cheap 100mW nRF24L01 based transceiver running off a 3.6 volt supply.
Wireless Charging Receiving Module Qi Wireless Charging Receiver Wireless Charging Receiving Board DIY PCBA
And a QI wireless charging receiver capable of hitting 5 volts at 1A.
A handy bluetooth 4.0 audio module based on the CSR8630 chipset.
An SPI based 433MHz FSK receiver using the CC1101 and running off 1.8 to 3.6 volts.
And this is cool. Similar to two servo modules I mentioned in past roundups. This is a servo that has inbuilt positioning and is controlled via a 3 wire interface. It’s bi-directional so you can set the angle of the servo and query it’s temperature, load, speed, and position.
There’s also a GPRS/GSM based shield with onboard camera and SD slot. Supports all the usual GSM functions like SMS and voice calls, but remember GSM will be phased out in most countries. So might not be worth getting it.
A cheap 100mW LoRa module based in the RFM95 chip. Gives you an effective 37.5kbps bit rate. A decent enough LoRa module for that price.
And then we have a whole bunch of Bluetooth modules from ICstation; cc2541 to cc2640 to nrf51822.
Some ultra cheap Beidou and GLONASS GPS modules.
And motion sensors, current, pressure, temperature and humidity sensors. The MAX30100 heart rate sensor I’ll shortly being running a tutorial on. So stay tuned for that.
And IC station also have a nice GPIO breakout for the new ESP32, which allows you to chuck it into a breadboard.
I’ve created an “honourable mention” section on my website that contains some things that didn’t make it into this video. So check that out if you’re interested.
ARMA IoT is an Arduino shield that contains an esp8266 and SD slot. There’s a lot of these on the market, and here’s another!
A fairly specialized bit of kit that provides an SD to SCSI converter for Musical Instruments models such as AKAI MPC3000, MPC60, Roland S770, E-mu E-III and others.
SD MistyGhost made by the same guy is an SD to ATAPI adapter for musical instruments such as AKAI MPC2000XL, Roland VP-9000 and others.
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