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Mark Miller
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Mark Miller

➥ Robotics  - 
 
R2D2 action figures were marked way down so I got one to experiment with. The come as just static figures and do nothing and about 18 inches tall. Nice thick heavy plastic, well made and easy to hack.
Used some small gearmotors (http://www.ebay.com/itm/221706789405?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT)and 3D printed wheels and parts to get it mobile and added a sound module with some recorded available sound effects. Might do some more to it later. It runs a bit slow, but I am happy with it for now.
 I did the big Stormtrooper figure last week:
https://plus.google.com/+MarkMillerstuff/posts/6gW4NXrmM4T
Video is a bit choppy as my cat kept pouncing on the thing and I edited it out.........
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Mark Miller

➥ Project/Product photos  - 
 
I took a few days to work on my scale motorized chassis and made a 3D printed simple steering mechanism and a complete printed frame to hold the solenoid engine, rear end and steering components.
 This time instead of using servos for throttle and steering, I used some small cheap gear motors from ebay(about 2$ each) which also allowed me to make use of inexpensive RC guts that only drive motors and are found on many low end cars. The RPM output of the small motors are 20@ 6 VDC, and measure about an inch around.
 The photos show the components before and after assembly as well as when mounted and working. The printing time was under an hour for everything(for the steering mech).
 While there is no active suspension in the design, the printed chassis allows some flexing which absorbs most rough bumps, and this is a low speed vehicle anyway. The printed parts require a few hardware store bits to complete.
 While I was at it, I also changed the throttle control for the solenoid engine over to the same motor. With a bit of linkage and a printed mount, it fell into place easily.
 My goal here is to make everything 3D printable for an entire vehicle so it can be easily reproduced, thus freeing up time to make the moving chassis into robots, land crawlers etc. with a variety of bodies and external gear, and do so inexpensively, while also using commonly available parts.
The solenoid engine build and rear end gearbox is documented on my profile page.
This is also adaptable for smart car experiments, and I am testing a bit in that direction also.
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Mark Miller

➥ Project/Product photos  - 
 
3D printed Mini Mill.
 In my continuing quest to find the limits of 3D printed machines, here is my latest entry. I am using the same X,Y axis as I have used in my other machines, and added the Z and a small powerful motor using PWM for speed control. The spindle collet holds standard dremel bits and I even printed a sleeve to cover the chuck.
 Max envelope is 3 inches square and 2 inches high.
This cuts wood, plastics(ABS and delrin so far) and foam as well as pcb(with a narrower bit for traces) really well providing you use max 3/32 inch deep cuts. I tried some aluminum but it was a very poor finish and terribly slow due to vibration.
 The DRO is really useful for a mill for measuring and laying out manually with the joystick.
 I am going to use an arduino controller on this one for automation so I won't have to write much code.
Printed parts time about 15 hours. Total machine cost around 50$ or so.
 I scaled this machine down compared to my lathes I have been printing for extreme compactness, and the parts I am using it for easily fit into the work envelope.
This project has been a challenge to gain the required Z axis rigidity required for milling.
 The mill weighs about 12 pounds. All DC motor drives with photo-interrupters for tracking.
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Samer Najia's profile photoceruleanplains's profile photoTrevor Cunningham's profile photoVasu Srinivas's profile photo
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Nice job
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Mark Miller

➥ Project/Product photos  - 
 
3D printed scorpion.
Simple RC model(for now) using cheap tiny gear motors from ebay(2$ each) I designed the "wheels" as a test for better traction in the sand(Florida....) and then printed a body to run them in for the traction and slippage testing. The scorpion parts came as an after thought to make it look interesting. Now I want to make a swarm of them....and perhaps some other bugs.
 The wheels started out as just 4 feet each, but it was far too bumpy of a ride, so when I moved to six it was smoother and still really dig in and grab even in loose sand.
 I am going to scale these up a bit and use larger motors, then perhaps add some sensors and a controller for wander mode.
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Mark Miller

➥ 3D printing  - 
 
A super simple dot matrix printer.
 I 3D printed all the parts for this simplistic printer then, used a servo, a small stepper and a small DC gear motor to run the drives. The X axis is a stepper motor with the driver electronics mounted underneath. The servo pushes the pen onto the paper with spring loaded retraction. The servo mount is adjustable to give more or less pressure, which can determine the dot size. I am just using ordinary sharpie markers as the "ink" supply.
 The paper feed is a small gear motor which pulls the paper across a backplane from the supply spool.
 Spacing and actuation is accomplished with a microcontroller and simple code. Maximum dots across is 16(8 shown in the video) so you can get a tad better resolution. This is more of a demonstrator than anything, but can be used to print characters or small graphics.
 Could easily be upgraded to a two pen system and be bicolor.
 It does make nice clean well aligned dots, and can run a tick faster than shown on the demo video.
 Pretty simple in design, but was a bit of a challenge to design and 3D print the parts. The paper transport was the hardest-trying to get the paper to travel square through the mechanism and roll up tightly. Inexpensive to make this, just needs mostly printer time now. I will probably make yet another version of this and try to compact it some, but is kind of nice now as you can see everything working.
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Mark Miller

➥ Project/Product photos  - 
 
Another actuator design I made for robotics and machines. This time a keyway was added to the main tube bore so that the pushrod could not rotate while moving in/out.
 The video shows a dumpbed I made to demo it.
The unit is all 3D printed parts except for the motor, threaded rod and a piece of tubing used as a motor to threaded rod coupling.
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Mark Miller

➥ Project/Product photos  - 
 
I got one of the 4 foot tall Stormtrooper action figures from the Star Wars movie at a drastic markdown and converted it into a walking machine. I also am adding some extra features and hoping to get the arms and head moving next.
 It was disturbing how much I had to cut that figure apart to make it do what I wanted. I would certainly cringe a bit if I had paid full price for the figure.
Kinda cool though!
Would love to do a Darth Vader too, but its just not in the budget.....
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Cameron Brown's profile photoJoshua Wilkins's profile photo
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Very cool
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Mark Miller

➥ Project/Product photos  - 
 
Simple machining center.
In an effort to simplify the part making process I created this system to rapidly create a part on my 3D printed lathe without the need for CAD drawing, file creation or other methods by scanning the profile desired after cutting the desired shape from cardboard.
 The scanner is fairly low resolution right now as it is comprised of a handful of 5/64 wide photo sensors attached to a clear plate. The cut out profile is placed on the plate and the compartment is flooded with light and a "snapshot" is taken into the electronics stack for conversion to driver code. The profile is stored in eprom, and up to six profiles can be stored onboard.
 The system was designed and built around what I had on hand. The photosensors are 20 cents each, and when combined with the electronics, costs around 25$ to make. I made use of the Chinese STC8952 as a process controller for both the scanning and driver conversion.
In the photos, the electronics are removed from the scanner cabinet and shown. The scanner cabinet I got a bit carried away with making it looks a bit Sci-Fi but hope to 3D print a nice one when everything gets finalized.
 The other photos show a blank cardboard template representative of the raw square stock in the lathe, and how a profile can be cut with a pair of scissors then scanned quickly to start the machine running.
 In a few minutes the cardboard outline becomes a 3D part you can actually use for a project(parts for a model I am making).
You can cut the cardboard any way you wish, and into any shape for the machine to cut. I have ran myself out of stock blanks playing with this in the past week, it's just fun to have that creative freedom and instant satisfaction(well almost instant.
 Next I am going to add my 3D scanner(https://plus.google.com/+MarkMillerstuff/posts/b4B3QH8q5pb)( on my profile page) to this design so it can also make 3D scans for the small printed mill I made last year( on my profile page)(https://plus.google.com/+MarkMillerstuff/posts/SNh9EhJ3Fmt).

 Call me lazy or just impatient, but it is so much faster to just cut a profile with scissors than go through the motions of CAD and for some who do not know how to draw and design such files, this makes an easy interface to get what you want and need quickly.
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Mark Miller

➥ How-tos & learning  - 
 
Fun with Chinese microprocessor STC89C52.
I am sure everyone has seen these on Ebay and elsewhere, I had got a few of them over the years(and had frustrated people give them to me) to play with but just never got around to it, or was baffled by the lack of good documentation for their use.
 The primary holdup for me was everything was written in Chinese, which I do not speak ,read or even mildly comprehend. Often these development boards come with a disc or some documentation, but nothing or little in English.
 The sad fact is, these boards are very cheap, have everything you need to work with right on the board, and in their time would have been a great "first" microcontroller for hobbyist to use.
 Many have onboard drivers for motors, relays and steppers(no shields etc needed) have buttons and key matrix setups, Ir projects, LCDs and everything the Arduino systems have, all in a nice compact board
 I finally a few weeks ago set out to translate all the materials, put together a toolchain, and do something with these. My pile had grown to more than a dozen, the weather was awful, and a good excuse to waste some time.
 After the miserable translation process of copying and pasting entire CDs into google translate(a bit at a time, no, pun intended), I started getting some clues and a few answers..
 These things do work really well, and have lots of projects you can make with them. Most serious hobbyist would never look twice at through hole boards, DIP profiles, or even want to play with older tech, but it was fun after the deciphering was done.
 Even the programmer software was in Chinese...yikes...
Not sure why I decided to post this, perhaps others might want to try and work on mysteries without many clues, or perhaps clever souls already figured all this out long ago.....The google search showed a few who tried it with some success...Or perhaps I overlooked an easier way.
 I snapped some photos of a few of the boards. Most of them do not require an external programmer, you can burn right on the board.
 These things still have a large presence on Ebay, and many at very cheap prices(some under 5$) so very affordable.
If you are lucky enough to read Chinese this will be a breeze, but if not these are still a fun way to play with some cheap tech.
 If anyone is interested in more details about how to get these things going, send me an e-mail I will help you out. I am going to put a documentation package together just for fun while it is still fresh in my mind.
 If you have got these things going the "easy" way please comment and tell me how you did it.
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Mark Miller's profile photoYuan LIU's profile photoJulian David Gómez Ríos's profile photoAquib Alam's profile photo
4 comments
 
+Yuan LIU It shares common points with the AT98S51 series. Most of the boards I have come across are the 52(more ram) some of the dev boards also can be used with the AT89S by using jumper(s).
 I had lots of trouble with using the AT89S toolchain in programming these however(stability).
 The china version also makes use of Keil programming tools(uvision5 or less is best)for compiling/debug. For some reason the isp/asp program interface is very buggy and so much easier to go with the USB option. 
Almost every data disc I have obtained with these boards have the files produced as a Keil uvision project, with Chinese file names and comments in the programs.
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Mark Miller

➥ Project/Product photos  - 
 
Ratchet and Pawl Motor(R.P.M.).
This was a test to find out other ways to make an engine in a new way. I have been making solenoid engines for years and wanted to try a new method.
 Two small servos move the ratchet, the first across the pawl teeth, and the second lifts, then pulls down the ratchet onto the teeth then the first servo retracts pulling creating rotation.
 You can run the sequence very slowly as shown in the start of the video, or speed it up.
 It is useful in the sense of the good torque produced, but not in the sense of continuous smooth rotation. I mounted a propeller to show how much rotation occurs on each impulse.
 As can be seen, I embellished the model a bit to look more "engine like"  as it was rather boring to look at otherwise. There are only a few actual moving parts in the mechanism itself.
Everything is 3D printed.Pretty simple to build despite looking rather complicated by all the plastic bling!
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+Bruce Lunde Thanks.
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Mark Miller

➥ 3D printing  - 
 
I 3D printed the axis,camera mounts and supports to make this video inspection microscope. Nice to check for tiny problems on tiny circuits, and other uses as well. This is using a cheap composite camera from Ebay(5$) and a 5 inch black and white TV set from days gone by. Would have been great to have an LCD screen, but that was not in my budget so I made do with what I had.
 You can place a board or other object on the 4 X 5 inch table(up to a few inches tall) and use the joystick to move it under the camera.
Great for finding bad solder joints, broken traces, or just to read the tiny silkscreen text.
 Nice and compact,lightweight and joystick stows on the side for easy transport. Sure the purple color is a bit weird, but it's what I had loaded....and trying to use up.
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Mark Miller

➥ Project/Product photos  - 
 
3D printed working solenoid lawnmower engine.
 Yet another bout of insanity come to life, I have created this solenoid engine to resemble the humble lawnmower engine. I am again testing my 3D printing file designs and the printer itself endlessly making more complex designs.
 The photos show the end result. The solenoid used was a simple DC box solenoid(12 volt) and uses simple electronics for timing. The green box below is just a battery case and mount for the engine. About 150 + meters of filament, this one in basic black-I am going to make some more, well, because its fun to watch and fun to build. This is my second working printed engine(see my profile page for the other) and will no doubt be more to come. The video shows it running.
 Pure electric, pure fun!
Youtube link in case video does work here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HbOeZs_xO5Y
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Kenneth Peterson's profile photoTimothy Green's profile photo
2 comments
 
+Kenneth Peterson better print in some cooling feature and not melt it. Gas engines waste a lot in heat, let's think of some other fuel source.
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People
Have them in circles
248 people
Mark Harrison's profile photo
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Work
Occupation
Robotics and Animatronics, art and automation. I love making things. I am always looking for new opportunities
Skills
Designer,PCBs,machinist,moldmaking and CNC machine design,Electronics, fabrication.
Links
Story
Tagline
If you can dream it, you can build it.
Introduction
I design and build robots, androids and automation. Self funded(yeah..right, I am SO not funded), scrounger,packrat of old tech for building fodder. I just always want to build more stuff. Serious longstanding electronics background. I design and build durable, long lasting and reliable gear. No project too big, insane or farfetched.
Bragging rights
Despite 40 years of fabricating, I still have all my fingers!
Basic Information
Birthday
November 8
Other names
The Android Man