I purchased this kit from having backed Makeblock in it's original crowdsourcing effort. I thought that it would be a neat teaching tool for the kids supplemental stem projects. After receiving the item just a couple weeks after the campaign closed I was shocked to see how well it was packaged.
Having backed other kickstarter robotics projects I expected a box with parts thrown in and maybe an instruction sheet with a QR code. But this product came well packaged and the inside of the box had pre cut foam surrounding all the little bits and pieces, even the screws were individually bagged.
Just like with any of the kids projects I first test them out to see if they could complete them or not (and I get to play with them :) )
I took out the instruction manual and was well pleased with the layout, it listed the four robots and had step by step illustrations that would rival Lego or Ikea. I decided to build the mSpider (Wall drawing bot) since we have nice big dry-erase walls here at work and I thought it would be cool if I could draw something on one of them like the company logo.
The build couldn't have went easier and I was done in about 1 and a half hours. I decided since I had already blew through my lunch I'd wait a couple hours to mount it to the wall.
The only difference between my mounting and the one depicted on the box is that my wall didn't have a top so I used command strips with velcro to attach to the wall instead of c-clamps. This worked well but made for a scary wobble every one in a while.
After I mounted the bot to the wall trouble began. The bot would just stutter back and forth and not really draw what I had on screen. After a few minutes of playing with the configuration in mDraw (the software that came with the kit) I decided to call it quits for the day thinking I had a bad stepper motor or driver board.
The next morning I took a close look at the driver boards and realized that it had A4988's on them. These drivers have to be tuned to the correct voltage in order to work, So I hooked up the Orion (arduino uno clone), modified the sample sketch for stepper drivers to turn both at the same time, and tuned the driver board's pot until the stepper did not stutter. I then remounted and voila! Pictures. However the image it drew was backwards so I flipped the SVG and tried again. Perfect!.
The only suggestions I would make is to include a step in the instructions on how to tune the driver boards and in the software include a units selector so I can input values in inches or ft. Otherwise it's a great product and well worth the money.
Technology is my passion. I spent the last 10 years perfecting my skill as an IT/Developer/Hacker and it shows in the work that I do. From microcontrollers to UX, C++ to C#, and solder to product I have been able to utilize my skills in the enterprise world building and integrating systems that boggle the mind. I am known for my swiss-army knife like ability to switch between systems and languages without a hitch in production. I am truly a hacker and love what I do.
Most recently I have been writing a book about my exploits in hacking the Microsoft Xbox 360 sensor and am well known in several industries for my other hacks.
You can find my author bio at http://www.amazon.com/David-Bates/e/B005Q9XBK6/
You can also find out about my most recent projects and connections from my various social media profiles
Twitter: http://twitter.com/davidbatesThe views and opinions expressed via this channel are strictly those of myself. The contents of this page have not been reviewed nor approved by my employer(s) and should not be considered to have any relationship with the views and the opinions of my employer(s)
- ModeaSenior Web Developer, 2014 - present
- BEM InteractiveWeb Developer / Technology Enabler, 2014
- X9 Technologies2014
- RFMDLead Web Developer, 2013
- Engineered Software
- Dish Network
302 Carter St Madison, NC 27025
X9 Technologies, Inc. High Point HQ 4160 Piedmont Parkway, Suite 101 Greensboro, NC 27410
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