Pre-order PolargraphSD v1.8

I’ve just made a listing for the PolargraphSD v1.8, over at the Polargraph Shop.

The price of it is likely to be the same as the last round, but if you want to pre-order at a decent discount, you can put a 25% deposit down to hold your place in the queue as well as make cash flow a little more predictable. It’s a kind of micro kickstarter. I hope to have this ready for shipping in May, but it’s more likely to be June.

I hope to enlist an extra pair of hands to help me assemble this time around, and am having this semi-formal fund-raising period so that I can buy a few critical parts in a full-sized batch (ie 50), rather than buy them piecemeal over the run of the batch. That ended awkwardly last time, with delays and malfunctions a-go-go.

Edinburgh Science Festival Project

I’ve been asked to make an installation as part of the Edinburgh Science Festival in April, so that’s the project that’s eating up my time at the moment, and the reason for the halt to PolargraphSD manufacturing.

This thing is going to be great though: Two large portrait machines, continuously drawing faces from a kinect / webcam on rolls of paper.

I’m using a Teensy rather than an Arduino for this project, EasyDrivers and optical encoders to close the loop and keep track of position. This will make for a more robust, semi-automatic machine. I hope to have endstops too, and a good presentable gondola that can take a range of fat pens.

I also hope to be taking one of my machines along to the Mini Maker Faire that closes the festival at the end of April.


PolargraphSD firmware update for SD card problems

SD cards are tricky beasts. I have spent the last few days trying to get better reliability out of my polargraph machines. I found a bunch of new SD cards that just wouldn’t initialise. Then I tidied up the software init routines, and some sprang into life! Hurray!

There is a new PolargraphSD firmware available in the github repo, and I’ve also rebundled it into a zip using the new releases feature in Github:

Polargraph v1.7.25

The design of the Polarshield, and the interaction between it, the arduino underneath and the SD card reader on top, the USB port and the power supply is clearly dysfunctional. Some combinations are trickier than others, it isn’t at all clear to me why.

The takeaway is hopefully that a couple of SD cards that previously did not work, now do. Please have a go with this, and let me know.