Wednesday, 24 April 2013


With the UK Maker Faire just days away I had to concede and cut my loses. Donkey Kong just wasn't going to be finished in time and to an acceptable standard, so I had to make the decision not to take it as a half built project to the Maker Faire. I still want to take something interactive though so I needed to make a new project.
The new project is a CNC controlled ball bearing rolling round a maze. The XY frame is taken from my old 3020 (the one that caught fire) and is driven by some hefty stepper drivers from my old CNC mill. A couple of magnets are placed on top of the machine and a ball bearing on top of a sheet of mdf. Sure it's only a flat maze but there is a reason for that, the whole thing is driven from an arduino and I'm going to let people program the arduino to drive it round the maze.

I wrote a small application that converts a command string sent via the serial port into a series of movements. N10, E20 etc. Simple enough to pick up quickly. Multiple commands can be strung together in one sentence so hopefully some people will be able to describe the maze well enough to get the ball from the start to the finish (and if not the fun is in the trying right?) I just need to mount the electronics on the end of the board and hook up some limit switches so that the frame can find it's own home position and then it will be ready for some video.
It's not quite as visually appealing as Donkey Kong, but I'm hoping that the people who use it will have just as much fun and it's certainly a lot more educational than DK.