Automated weaving machines are one of the most important (and underappreciated) advancements to come from the industrial revolution. Prior to their invention, most people only owned a few garments that were woven and maintained by the family. With the introduction of machines able to churn out textiles, affordable clothing suddenly became available. As an expert in the industry, Roger de Meester was able to construct a fully automated weaving machine controlled by Arduino boards.
Unlike the early weaving machines of the industrial revolution that could only produce patterns inherent to their construction, de Meester’s desktop weaving machine utilizes sophisticated computer control to produce a huge range of patterns on demand. A new pattern can be completely different from the preceding pattern and the machine can even adjust the pattern on-the-fly during the weaving process, meaning it can create rich tapestries.
This machine is incredibly complex, as it doesn’t rely on any mechanical coupling. That means that every facet of the machine’s operation is adjustable via a stepper motor, DC motor, or servo motor. There are a lot of motors to drive, so de Meester needed multiple Arduino boards: an Arduino Mega 2560 and two Arduino Nanos. The mechanical components are 3D-printed (like the shuttles) or made from aluminum extrusion and wood (like the frame).
None of our descriptions can give this project justice, so be sure to watch the video to see de Meester’s machine in action.
Peter Balch visited a robot exhibit at his local museum and noticed that one of the most popular pieces was a robot head that would track and mimic visitors’ faces. That was so interesting that Balch decided to replicate the project in order to learn how it was done. To do that, he first needed a robot head to work with. This Instructables tutorial explains how he built a skull-like android head that will eventually mimic human expressions.
Balch hasn’t yet tackled the facial detection and expression recognition portions of the project, which will require significant processing power. But he has built the android head that will receive the expression commands. It resembles a human skull with a copper tube framework that acts as both a support structure and a design accent. The head also has copper wire eyebrows (with heat-set insert ends) and plastic eyeballs from a cheap toy.
The robot can tilt its head up and down, rotate left and right, point its eyes in any direction, open and close its jaw, and pivot its eyebrows. That doesn’t cover the full range of human facial expression, but it does provide enough actuation for the robot to emote in a recognizable way. An Arduino Nano board drives the servos that handle the actuation. At this time, the Arduino controls the servos according to explicit commands. But once Balch finishes the facial recognition software, the device it runs on will send control commands to the Arduino to replicate the functionality that Balch saw in the museum.
The cost of a new prosthetic arm can range from several thousand dollars to tens of thousands, putting them out of reach for many people. Ahmad Ikram recognized this need and decided to design and build a far cheaper, open source version that has myoelectric capabilities.
To begin this project, Ikram decided upon using the InMoov 3D-printed arm design from French sculptor Gael Langevin due to it being easy to construct. The hand itself contains a single wire connected to each finger, while the other end gets wrapped around a servo motor horn so that the finger can bend whenever the serv moves. A Myoware muscle sensor is responsible for reading the electrical signals generated by muscle contractions and converting them into a readable analog voltage, which is read by an Arduino Nano’s analog pin.
The program Ikram created for the Arduino simply takes continuous readings from the myoelectric sensor and checks if it above a certain threshold. Once it is, the servos are set to a position for contracting the finger, otherwise it releases tension from the wire and makes the fingers return to their original position.
To see more about this project, you can read Ikram’s post here on Instructables and watch its demo video below.
There are few beverages on this planet that enthusiasts take more seriously than espresso. Aficionados care about and tune everything from steam pressure to bean roasting temperature. But espresso machines that provide both accurate and precise adjustments are very expensive — easily several thousand dollars. Fortunately, you can tackle the Gaggiuino project to upgrade an affordable Gaggia espresso machine to something comparable to a high-end machine.
Gaggia espresso machines cost less than $500 and they’re quite good for that price point, but they aren’t a match for something like a $6,000 La Marzocco Linea Mini. However, the building blocks are there; Gaggia espresso machines have high-quality parts, they simply lack precision electronic control. Gaggiuino addresses that shortcoming with a handful of affordable components. For around $100 worth of hardware, you can dramatically upgrade your Gaggia Classic or Gaggia Classic Pro to create an exceptional machine.
The hardware required for the Gaggiuino upgrade includes an Arduino Nano board, a 2.4” Nextion touchscreen LCD, a thermocouple, a solid-state relay (SSR), a pressure sensor, and a dimmer module. A few 3D-printed enclosures and mounts help to secure those components. After performing this upgrade, you’ll get a ton of great features. Those include: steam control, sensor graphs, manual flow control, a descale cycle, an auto shot timer, user profiles, and a nice UI to access and configure everything. Thanks to the new hardware, those functions all operate with great accuracy and precision, so you can dial in your perfect brew and get the same results every morning.
Measuring vacuum works in the same way as measuring any other gas pressure, because a perfect vacuum is unachievable and so it is a measure of how close to zero the air pressure inside a container becomes. But typical pressure gauges aren’t meant to measure pressures below ambient atmospheric pressure (vacuums). That requires special sensors and Advanced Tinkering built his own vacuum gauge controller to handle them.
The vacuum sensors that Advanced Tinkering purchased were designed for use with a proprietary controller that costs thousands of dollars. The sensors don’t just send an analog signal corresponding to pressure level (which would be very easy to read), but also status information. Even with that added complexity, the proprietary controller is very expensive for what it is. Advanced Tinkering correctly assumed that he could replicate its functionality with affordable off-the-shelf hardware. The communication protocols for his sensors are well-defined in published documents, which made them much easier to work with.
Advanced Tinkering used an Arduino Nano board for this project. It does need to read analog signals from each of the three sensors, so he paired the Arduino with an ADC (analog-to-digital) module and a multiplexer. Each vacuum sensor also received its own dedicated control button and OLED screen, the latter of which displays status messages and the pressure reading from each sensor in millibars. The buttons let Advanced Tinkering activate each sensor. All of those components went inside a tidy 3D-printed enclosure that matches the aesthetic of instruments like these. In total, this project cost Advanced Tinkering only about 5% of what he would have spent on the commercial vacuum gauge controller.
If you only need a couple of wires, it isn’t a big deal to just cut them and strip them yourself. But if you need dozens or even hundreds of wires, that becomes a very laborious task. That’s especially true if those wires need to be a precise length, which is ideal for clean wiring jobs. This machine built by Mr Innovative automatically cuts and strips wires in just a second to make such jobs much easier.
Before someone calls us out: no, this machine doesn’t fully strip the wires. It just precuts the ends so that the user can quickly pull off the insulation. But it is still doing all the hard work and is very useful. Just load up a spool of wire, feed it into the machine, set the wire length and stripped lengths, and sit back. The machine will cut through the insulation at one end, dispense the desired length of wire, cut through the insulation at the other end, and then cut that piece of wire off so it lands in a collection bucket.
If you’ve seen some of Mr Innovative’s other machines, then this will look very familiar to you. The frame is a combination of wood and 3D-printed parts. Stepper motors feed the wire and actuate the wire cutters, while a hobby servo motor directs the wire closer or further from the wire cutter blades to perform either a full cut or a cut through just the insulation. An Arduino Nano board controls the motors through drivers on a custom PCB. A Nextion touchscreen LCD panel provides the user interface for entering cut parameters.
If you cut lots of wires, a machine like this would be indispensable — though it would be nice to see adjustment for wire gauge.