Accepted into the Enterprise Co-op Program!

It’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog but I have some awesome news! I’ve been accepted into the University of Waterloo’s Enterprise Co-op program!

This means that for the next four months, I will be working on this project full time with the support and mentorship from the University, as well as support from accelerators and incubators in the Kitchener-Waterloo area.

Tim, Chris, and I will be living together and will be working on this machine until we can get it to be perfect. Stay tuned for more details.

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 9.22.00 PM

Our 3D printer has arrived!

Our 3D printer has finally arrived here in Waterloo all the way from Guangzhou! It’s a Tevo Tarantula that we picked up for just under $400 CAD.

We’re moving into exam season so the project will be slowing down for a few weeks until we can move into working on it full time, but hopefully the 3D printer will be fully assembled and printing so we can have stuff being made while we study!

tevo tarantula

A redesign of the X and Z axis gantry

Rendered Image Z Axis 4

I’ve been working on improving stiffness in all of the axis. Here’s a 3D render of the X and Z axis assembly. I found that the biggest issue with the previous iteration was that it was difficult to reach the fasteners, so it was a bit tricky to get everything as tight as possible.

We ordered linear rods and bearings, lead screws and nuts, and some other fun stuff to play around with, so this design is going to implement them. Lets hope they get here soon.

In the meantime, Chris is printing out some new parts for us to test out, and so we should know how they do in the next couple of days.

Our project is live on and the 2016 Hackaday Prize

We’ve entered the 2016 Hackaday Prize!

Our project page is public. Please check it out and like/share our page!

The Hackaday Prize is a competition synonymous with creating for social change. Using your hardware, coding, scientific, design and mechanical abilities, you will make big changes in peoples’ lives.

It’s time to leverage your talent and find solutions to address technology issues facing humanity today. With a new technical design challenge every 5 weeks, you are expanding the frontiers of knowledge and engineering.

Design an impactful project that suits you, or collaborate with someone else to do it. With our global collaboration platform, your project can be moving forward at all hours of the day. Create things like a better radiation monitoring system, a better calorimeter, open source instrumentation, digital logging scales and exercise trackers. Or go beyond that and create something that has never been seen before.



Design…round two

Hi everyone! We’ve put together a prototype and it looks pretty, but there’s a couple of things we want to touch up to get the best performance out of our machines, so we’re going into the second full round of design. Our new 3D printer is due to come in the next week or two, and so are all the extra parts we ordered, including couplers, leadscrews, bearings, and more.

We learned a bunch of new things from our first design, and what we plan to do with our second design iteration will make Sienci 1 even better. We plan to give more support to all of the v wheels, lower the y axis gantry and raise the corner supports, and experiment with thicker or wider rail materials.  We also plan to make the X axis calibration much easier by allowing it to split, as well as making all of the fasteners easier to access and tighten.

Here’s a CAD rendering of what the Y axis gantry might look like:

Y axis gantry V3.JPG

There’s definitely quite a few things to do to really perfect the design, but every day is a (micro) step towards achieving our goal.


Tim and I ordered a new 3D printer!

Tim and I needed a new 3D printer, so we ordered one online last night. Can’t wait to make some new prototypes and new machines!

It’s a cheap one we got online for about $310 CAD. 3D printers have gone down in price a lot over the last few years. I’m excited to see what this one can do and if it’s worth the money.

We’re going to be going into another design iteration to improve the performance on all axis with some new gantries, and this printer should help us make those parts. Also, we’re planning to take some of the parts off this guy later on and throw it on the Sienci 1 to make a GIANT 3D PRINTER.


Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 12.18.39 PMslimbot.jpg


We attached the rotary tool tool to the Z axis

The rotary tool came in the mail today, and so Chris and I printed a mount for it. We did a pretty good job of it because the tool is super snug and there’s absolutely no play. We’re just gonna have to work on wire management, perhaps put an outlet at the top of the Z axis or something.

We haven’t tested out cutting yet except with a bit of acrylic. I suspect we’re gonna have to throw on a router or a spindle to cut metal, so stay tuned in for that!

rotary tool on the z axis.jpg

We just tested the Z axis and things are looking good! (Okay we get that there’s wobble…we’re working on that)

So we’re still waiting on our aluminum shaft couplers and lead screws to come in the mail, so in the meantime, I hooked up a shaft coupler that I made at the machine shop and a 1/4″ threaded rod to the Z axis to see how things are working.

Things look pretty good! Since I didn’t do a very good job in making the coupler straight, the threaded rod is bent, and I need to tighten the v-wheels a bit more, there’s a lot of wobble in the Z axis. Once the lead screws come in however, I’m expecting way better linear movement on this thing.

Here’s a video for you guys to watch:

It’s coming alive! The X axis is moving!

So I started fiddling around again with the CNC control board again, and dropped down the acceleration speed of the motors, which stopped the motors from studdering. I haven’t tested out any microstepping yet (I don’t have any jumpers on hand for the control board), but at single step control, we got the x axis to move pretty well.

I noticed however, that there are some issues in stalling in the motor, so we’ll be trying out some different power supply voltages, adjusting current, and just seeing what works best overall.