Robot Army : Las Vegas Mini Maker Faire

I started composing an update a week ago… and never finished it. Now Mini Maker Faire is over. Oh well.

In any case… back then everything felt like it was falling apart. I wrote venting about how terrified, annoyed and disappointed I was that things wouldn’t just go the way they were suppose to. As we encountered one complication after another, each bump yielded an even better solution than what we were originally planning.

Long story short, all is going great again. Better in fact. We had an excellent Mini Maker Faire on Saturday. All of our friends and local backers came to see our kids perform and talk to us about our maniacal future schemes. Though we brought a soldering station and work lamp just in case an all systems failure occurred… nothing went wrong. Everything just worked…. the whole time (aside from the stupid Processing app crashing every now and then).

I could break it down in words and give you a play by play, but we decided to film it instead. So here’s a video to sum it all up :

Now that that’s over, time to start getting things ready for the real deal in San Mateo next month. We had originally planned on bringing 60 deltas with us to display (six pallets worth), but after experiencing the set up for just one with all the work it took to maintain them… Mark and I decided to lower that number to 30. This amount will fit in his Kia! So no mess with trailers and the like! We can’t wait! =]

Oh yeah… we ordered ALL of our servo motors today… for the kits and our installation. That’s 1000 servos….. =O Also, the largest purchase I’ve ever made in my life. Fun times. It’s happening!! The yellow onslaught is coming!

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Bunny Slippers of Death

My birthday was this past week and Mark made me something so frekkin awesome that I had to write a post to share it. First of all, we all know gifts that are made are far better than gifts which are bought. Gifts are even better still when they were made with inspiration from something you did… in this case, a drawing I made that Mark pulled into reality with his craftsman/techie prowess!

BEHOLD. Bunny feet of death :

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Mark collaborated on these with his awesomely talented friend from work, Emily Wiersma… who designed the ears, which she engineered to stand up and hold their shape when worn, as well as the adorable bunny faces!

Mark created the eyes, which are 3D printed compartments that hold both a power supply and tiny SMT LED!

I drew these almost a year ago back when I first started planning the Robot Army Kickstarter Campaign. Since I already own the red hooded robe, I can now actually wear this costume to Maker Faire. All I need now is the big centurion helm :

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HUZZAH!

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❤ Thank you Mark and Emily for yet another amazing life relic.

Robot Army : Entering Phase 3

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Fremont Street Procession

To celebrate our first successful Kickstarter campaign, Mark and I threw a soiree at SYN Shop with our close friends. Much to our surprise, everyone brought liquor! Nerds drink? Heh. Once good and numb they toted me down Fremont Street with one of my robots in a royal procession on our friend Bill’s newly crafted dolly. I can’t believe this happened… the experience was surreal (Thank you guys for making me feel special!). The video explains the night better than I can :

The War Room

No one can mastermind a scheme for world domination without a proper war room to do it all in. During this first week since the end of our Kickstarter, we’ve transformed Mark’s workspace into a factory. We fashioned a 4′ x 8′ sheet of wood into a painted, polished table complete with central two tier hutch and power outlets (oh, and speakers of course… you can’t take over the world without listening to Rush). This is going to be where the remainder of our prototyping, manufacturing, and construction will happen as we dive head on into fulfillment mode! Which reminds me… in addition to building kits, we have a disgusting amount to do in the next two months ::quivers::

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We Are Doing Maker Faire

…not just Mini Maker Faire in Las Vegas on April 5th, but the full blown big kid Maker Faire in San Mateo on May 17th and 18th- which means in addition to compiling kits, we need to have several pallets worth of deltas built and functioning with a proper show demo in a little less than ten weeks!?!!!1 zomg. Can’t slip up now. I’ve been dreaming about showing my field of light in the Bay Area now for the past year, ever since I walked into their dark room with Jeff and thought to myself ‘I will own this one day‘. Little did I expect I’d have my chance so soon! While I’m pleased to announce that Mark and I will be there… my test starts now.

So, 2400 yellows…

Mark and I will be assembling a grand total of 215 kits for our backers (you guys rock!). We also need to build an additional 150-200 deltas for our own devices. At six yellow arms per unit that puts us at a nauseating 2400ish pieces we’ll need to produce. Sadly, we didn’t quite hit our mark to get big kid injection molds tooled. The method of 3D printing the parts will take more printers than we have access to in order to get things made before Maker Faire. The solution to this issue is to cast our arms. I was really apprehensive about considering this as an alternative, however Mark has made me some rather sound samples and it’s starting to look like the way to go. If our test parts hold up to a good long torture run- we’ll likely be pouring molds for the arm pieces and dying the resin neon yellow. This will take a little bit of tuning and set up, but on the bright side… once we’re ready we’ll get ALL of our arms made in a few days, rather than months (SWEET).

We’d be making several big molds of ten to twelve arms each. This was our test mold/cast :

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We’ll continue testing different resins throughout the week, while trying to match the color! Wish us luck!

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The Lone Delta

In other sorta sad, but good news…. Mattias has been running nonstop in the window at SYN Shop for the past week  WITHOUT FAIL. Looks like we have a winner. It’s still there as I write this, bobbing and wiggling in its tweaky way. We know you miss us but you’ve made mommy and daddy very proud, and you’ll always have something all the other little deltas won’t. Experience.

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If you are a part of this project or want to be, join our brand new forum and start talking about stuff robot related! You can also like our facebook page– because why not?

There’s No Business Like Snow Business

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I made it home from Michigan alive! My vacation in Harrison was both relaxing and productive (but mostly relaxing). I spent my time consuming warm food rich with carbs while beached on the fold-out bed as I played games online and watched the snow fall outside. I was like a fat over pampered bear in hibernation for the past week, but it was the medicine I needed.

Any how, I hope everyone takes this week to slow down and enjoy spending time with the people important to them. =] Cheers!

I’m Pretty Darn Thankful

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So it’s that special time of year when my Polish family (and friends) jam into my grandmother’s living room for an evening of decadent eating and potential drunken arguments to the tune of Il Volo (the teenage Italian opera singing trio my mom is currently obsessed with).

New additions to this years feast are my cousin’s husband Andy (welcome to the family bro!) and Mark, who we baptized in sour cream two weeks ago… so he’s technically a Pollock now and I think my mom officially claimed him as her own- but anyhow. They’ll get whats coming to them soon enough.

As I sit here, basking in the aroma of Jeff’s homemade apple pie cooking in the oven, I reflect on the past year and all that I am truly thankful for (I’m going to get emo for a second now). It was just last November that I was preparing for major surgery and was suffering the height of my brain’s uncomfortable compression into the walls of my skull. I am sitting here one year later, alive, healthy, and living my dreams as such with an amazing group of friends to support me as I climb to the top of my own shit mountain. Life’s great =]

This past year rocked. Last November in Mark’s chilly compact workroom, I soldered my first SMT part to the first PC board I ever designed in Eagle… which was the first thing I ever etched in Jeff’s kitchen. I attended my first Maker Faire, and helped with two contests at Defcon 21. I even started my own podcast with the man who’d become my best friend and by doing so liberated this loud, neurotic, semi-perverted side of myself. I’ve hosted several themed shindigs, helped teach soldering classes at our hackerspace, worked a ShopBot without killing anyone in the process, and watched the people who I’ve gone on this journey with also grow as a result of having me in their lives.

My dreams are no longer somewhere out there beyond my reach as a direct result of those who have brought out the best in me. You all make living feel truly alive. –  I hope everyone I know gets to be someplace special tonight eating themselves into a satiated food coma. ❤

Ok, I’m done being soggy. The picture at the top is of my first robot, Flower, which I retrieved and brought over to Jeff’s last night. It’s now united with its progeny for the first time. ^.^

Geeky Freaky

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For the sake of branding, Mark and I decided to switch the name of our podcast from TACO Time, to Geeky Freaky before we were too far along in the game to make such a huge change. After all, how well does “TACO Time” describe two wash ups who create artistic amalgamations of tech and mind warping perversion? Not very.

You can now find our podcast at our new youtube channel : SM Geeky Freaky.

…And as promised, here is the third episode, “Just the Tip”