Building a Better Colour Changer – Interlude – The KRC-1000E

Just as a little break from your regular program, I thought I’d talk about the $600 commercial alternative to our prototype.

The KRC-1000E is the rather catchy name for this unit, and my searching on the internet seems to suggest that it was most commonly purchased with the Brother KH-970.  This makes sense because from what I could find you can’t really program the unit as such.  There is simply a cable that plugs in to the KH-970.

Probably a good thing we didn’t spend any money on one for our KH-950i then.  It almost certainly would have been wasted money.

So, lets have a little look at what design decisions were made by a Japanese engineer in the 80’s vs an Aussie hacker in 2017.

So that’s what they look like! Thanks random internet search!

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Building a better Colour Changer – Part 2 – Firing the Lasers

Previously on “I’m cheating on my Colour Changer with a half made prototype”………

My first post on this topic was devoted to the Digital Side of designing a part.  It had lots of images, a fairly waffly bit in the middle where I admitted I hadn’t remembered to take images or notes and ultimately stopped before I put the rubber to the road.  What a cop out.

In this second part, there is still a bit of digital talk while I go through how I get my digital design from farm to table, but there’s going to be a hell of a lot of table too.  There may also be mixed metaphors.

I should also warn you, this is a bit of a long one.  On reflection, it should have probably been two posts.

This post contains 5 chapters (or steps, as it were):
In Step 1, I go in to a bit of detail on the digital steps I use to get to physical.
In Step 2, I put all the pieces together.
In Step 3, I give the project some smarts.
In Step 4, I attach it to the machine.
In Step 5, I cover some of the “corrections” I had to make.

As modern makers we’re really only presented with two approaches when turning our digital ideas into a physical reality,  Additive manufacturing and Subtractive manufacturing.  This project would suit either, I could have 3d printed these parts, CNC milled them or Laser cut them out of stock.  All are tools I have available fairly readily at the Connected Community Hackerspace here in Melbourne.

I guess I like the idea of vaporising plastic though, because friken laser beams is where I went without even a thought.

Hypothetically I could put lasers on this…..Stretch Goal?

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Building a better Colour Changer – Part 1 – Designing hardware

“Can we make an automatic colour changer?  And can we do it cheaper than $500.”

I think Sarah posed this to me as a bit of a challenge, coupled with a desire not to spend $500+ on a yet another add-on for her knitting machine.

Like a lot of things, I think the answer is “Maybe…”  I mean, I’m fairly confident, but as this is an ongoing project I’m still a little unsure.  Still, the render looks good, so that’s something!

Seriously, I’ve seen Kickstarter projects that don’t look this slick.

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Cloud bad. Pi good.

This particular project isn’t unique in any way.  It’s almost more of a rant.

Originally, we didn’t really want a camera to check in our kid but that changed fairly quickly when we discovered he was fairly likely to scream happily while playing with his soft toys.  Climbing a flight of stairs to interrupt a happy baby really wasn’t working for us.

In a brief moment of time-poorness and low energy I ordered a Belkin NetCam HD off the internet.  I’ve used the Belkin WeMo kit before and figured it would Just Work(TM), I wouldn’t have to load an extra app on my phone and I generally wouldn’t have to think about it all that much.

And that was my mistake.  Cue the rant.

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Of Spaceships and Solder

Like Hackerspaces the world round, CCHS tries to spread the good word and introduce people to the joys of making.  How to Solder kits almost always pop up when we attend an event because they’re fun and (relatively) easy even for people who have never held a soldering iron before.

CCHS has always had kits, but about two years ago we ran in to a problem.  Functionally they were fine, but we’d been finding it harder and harder to get components that fitted and the design was a bit bland.  Why not take advantage of the wide range of colours now available from PCB shops in China for $cheap I reasoned?  Why not stretch my KiCad fingers and try for some smooth arcs?

So late one Friday evening, I firmly ignored the tantalising calls from friends playing online games and dedicated an evening up to my metaphorical armpits in CAD drawings and PCB layout (which honestly is just more CAD).

And here they are.

I blew the special effects budget on the flying effect!

All the Colours of the rainbow!

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