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I didn’t want it to come to this! After many attempts to get the printer to go forward on its own accord (many resulting in ruining the control board and having to buy a new printer) i have brought out the secret weapon – ARDUINO.  I also bought a heavily geared down DC motor from Tamiya. These factors combined result in some serious direct to everything progress!

The video shows the printer stepping forwards at a pace set by the Resistance registered by a potentiometer. Later on the potentiometer will be very important in tweaking the printer so it outputs correctly. The DC motor has more than enough power to move the printer.



The black and red wires go directly to the dc motor. The power is switched using a simple transistor.

After my post on subconscious tapping a while ago i have been pondering over my own version. I have been developing a very simple robot that bounces back and forth between two objects; the further apart the objects the slower the beat. I plan to make quite a few of these little bots so that different beats can be made by having each robot bounce between different distances.  Here’s a quick mock up of how the robots will be made –

I have nick named him Gaz the destroyer i made a mock up out of cardboard before this one who was not quite so successful. He was called Baz the racing slug! i do in fact need to get out more.

I am quite happy with the over all performance of the mock up. There are a few things to take into consideration. The robot produces a slight wheel spin on the return journey. This is because of bad weight distribution. I have decided to counteract this by making the robot 4 wheel drive. I also want to consider what material to construct the mechanism with so that when the robot bashes against an object it makes a good noise.

Being quite new to hacking components i am completely curious about how the small things work. I have been on the hunt for a servo stepper motor for a while now just to experiment with and control using the Arduino. I was told that printers quite often have stepper motors in them so i blagged a printer and started yanking it apart in a rather brutal fashion. With components and plastic discarded everywhere i recoiled in disappointment. After reducing the poor defenseless printer into smithereens all i had to show for it was dc motors 😦 How then did the printer control the movement of the laser-jet so accurately?

Make magazine came to the rescue as always. Recently on there blog they posted a link to this blog :


A big magnet has a post explaining “Using a DC motor as a servo with PID control” which is what i have encountered when hacking my printer. This technology is not just in printers its everywhere. Its in your printer, Computer mouse, scanners and so much more. A DC motors and an optical encoder are used to replace expensive stepper motors. PID stands for proportional–integral–derivative.

Wikipedia says:

PID is is a generic control loop feedback mechanism (controller) widely used in industrial control systems. A PID controller attempts to correct the error between a measured process variable and a desired setpoint by calculating and then outputting a corrective action that can adjust the process accordingly.

If you are wanting to control movement from a motor and don’t want to spend on expensive stepper motors you should really consider reading this blog.

A big magnet

thank you Big magnet

thank you Make magazine

Recently i have been pondering over how the hell CNC milling machines get such precision based vector lines. I was hoping to find some tutorials for arduino that would explain the theory behind this technology. All i found out so far is that the whole thing is fairly confusing. Despite my confusion i am very happy to have found this CNC controlled etch a sketch. Its not a toy its a precision engineers dream.

A couple of people have acheived etch a scetch prefection:

and last but not least (check out the retro main image):

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