We were inspired by a type of 3d printer that uses 3 axes and controls the filament extruder on a circular bed. We wanted to replicate something like this in a 2d setting over the course of the hackathon, and thought it would definitely be useful for grocery lists.
What it does
This 2D printer takes text from the input line of Arduino and uses an arduino uno to control two motors to write out your input on a paper.
How we built it
Using foam as a mounting board, two motors run pullies that control a carriage that holds the marker. By controlling the motors, the marker moves, writing out the input text on the paper!
Challenges we ran into
The supplied encoders have too much movement between steps and therefore didn't give an exact measurement of where the carriage was positioned. Also, the motors were slightly underpowered and we needed to find the correct counterweights to balance out the system. These counterweights ended up being what we had lying around at hackathon - two Ranch dressing packets from dinner. Additionally, fine tuning the code for each individual letter presented a significant obstacle that we are happy we overcame.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
First, we are proud of being able to write the code for such a unique mechanical system. We were able to support all characters and numbers, along with a few special characters.
What we learned
We learned first of all that anything is possible with a lot of caffeine and an arduino board. We also learned about the trade-offs between different mechanical designs and how they would each affect the code. This specific design has distortion on the far edges of the board, but it is readable otherwise.
What's next for Writing History
Next, we would like to integrate this project with a Google Home, and allow its text input to be derived from voice commands.