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Friday, September 20, 2013

Pet Feeder and Rocket Launcher Updates

This is actually the second time I have been at the Makerspace since I got from vacation.

Last week, I spent a few hours using the Makerbot Replicator 3D printer to print two more pieces for the automated pet food dispenser.  One was the second half of the auger and the other was a piece to attach the auger to the wood are done (pictured to the right).  However, once I took the auger half home and married it up to the other half, I realized that the first half did not print perfectly.  It curled up a bit on the edges.  So, the halves do not have a lot of surface area that touches and may not glue together well.

This week, I tried re-printing the first half of the auger piece.  I could not do it.  The filament would not stick to the plate.  I tried leveling the plate, cleaning the plate, removing and re-loading the filament, printing from both extruders; nothing worked.  After about an hour of messing around, I gave up.

After punting with 3D printing, I worked on the rocket launcher.  I soldered in the switch I had found and tested the launcher.  The LED stayed on no matter which position the switch was in -- on or off.  I tested the switch by using a multimeter to test the resistance of the switch in both the on and off positions.  The test showed that the switch was stuck open.

I found another switch in the parts rack at the Makerspace and soldered that in to the launcher box.  This time, it worked perfectly.  I used a small motor as a test object in place of an actual rocket.  When I hooked the wires to the motor, the LED lit up -- great.  Then, when I pushed the launch button, the LED went off and the motor fired up.  Next step is to test with an actual rocket.

In other news, the computer that is in the 3D printer area would not turn on.  Long-story-short, we replaced the power supply with a spare we found on the hack rack and now it works.