Building a Better Colour Changer – Part 3 – Revising the design

Well, it’s been a while, but it’s well past time we had another look at the continuing saga of Circuit design and Colour Changers.

The good news is I haven’t been idle and now we’re up to like prototype 5.  The bad news is there’s still a bit to go before it’s reliable and repeatable enough that we can sell them.

Close though, I think we’re on the last but final!

So, as to delays……

One of the big problems with trying to capture a design process from start to finish is you end up with a hell of a lot of footage.

Turns out, editing hours of footage in to a watchable 5 to 10 minute video is something I suck at.  Inevitably when I promised myself I’d do it I sat down and promptly continued the design process again.

Which of course meant I now had even more footage.  Anyone who does the maths can see the problem with this.  So many hours of terrible, boring footage.

So here’s a peak at version……3….. I think.  Click on through for some of the videos I did actually did manage to finish!

I’m much better at Renders than Photos.

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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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Stargazing ABC and the Geelong Scarf Festival 2017

Our beautiful Milky Way (CC0 Public Domain, free for commercial use, no attribution required)

Sometimes (often) I’m backward in coming forward. It’s a failing. I’m working on it. 🙂

You would think that for someone who’s done three coloured knits before with success, using one knit per pixel is just a stretch goal. Not real critical. However, my recent work in Algorithms of Multi-Coloured Knitting had a lot of motivation behind it. There was a thing I really wanted to make. So much so, it had me twisting my brain in knots trying to figure out a way to make it a reality.

Some weeks ago John and I were watching Stargazing Live on ABC, mere days after I cracked the three colour algorithm. Go check it out on iView if you’re at all interested in the night sky and what average Australians can tell you about what’s up there. A lot of passionate people are taking amazing photos with off the shelf cameras, not to mention what the professionals are up to at Siding Spring Observatory.

“She looks cold”, said John pointing to a visibly shivering Kumi Taguchi interviewing the Space Gandalf.
“Her scarf is ineffectual”, I replied, having been watching the scarf parade on screen as much as delighting in the astronomy.
“You could make her a scarf”
“There’s a particular scarf I want to make, but it can’t be done.”
“What’s stopping you?”
“Well… I’ve improved the resolution issue with the new algorithm but I still don’t think I have enough pixels. I want to knit the Milky Way.”
“You’d better figure it out soon, looks like there’s another scarf festival on this year and the theme is Galaxies.”
“Wow… you’re KIDDING me?!”

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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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Loving the mathematics of sea snails

Sourcing inspiration for unique design ideas sure does lead me down some truly weird and wonderful paths. Last week it was all about snails. Tropical sea snails to be precise!

The original Oliva Porphyria sea shell is a thing of beauty on its own. With its distinctive geometry, it's hard to believe this pattern comes from nature:

Tropical sea snail shell detail
Image attributed to Hectonichus on Oliva Porphyria Wikipedia article.

But how could I possibly emulate this in woollen form?

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