Free Domestic Shipping on orders over $150!


Animated Eyes in a Box, powered by Raspberry Pi

With the 2018 Maker Festival Toronto coming up on July 7th and 8th, we thought it would be fun to build a few things.

Ever since Adafruit released their Animated Eyes Bonnet, I knew we had to build one.  We have also been on a big Glowforge kick lately, so it seemed natural build a box for our animated eyes.  

Adafruit already has an excellent guide for building the hardware and getting the software working, so we won't go too far into the details on that part.  A few things to note:

  • Be sure to start with a clean install of Raspbian Lite.  
  • You have the option of using 1.5" OLED, 1.44" TFT LCD, or 1.54" IPS TFT displays.  We went with the OLED's since they have a wide viewing angle and great colour.    The IPS TFT would be a good alternative as well, or the 1.44" TFT if you are on a budget.
  • We used a Pi 3 B+ because we have a bunch in stock and we knew we would have plenty of room in our 120mm x 120mm x 120mm box.  
  • The guide has an excellent script that allows you to configure the settings of the Python script that runs the displays.  One nice feature is that you can enable a shutdown button on any available GPIO.  We chose GPIO 4 and added a nice red 16mm pushbutton

We started by soldering everything up and installing the software.  Here's a video showing the eyes before we built the box

We then took a bunch of measurements and drew some basic drawings.  A whiteboard is your friend here.  

We used MakerCase to generate the box plans, and then we put the SVG file into Inkscape to add all the holes and artwork.  Here it is good to measure twice and cut once.  It is easy to make a mistake, and the Glowforge Proofgrade material is not cheap!  Here is a video where we are cutting the box on the Glowforge:

We wanted to make it so our fans could see the guts of the project, so we separately cut the top of the box with acrylic.  We have found that these boxes are quite sturdy if glued on all sides except the top, so we made the top piece removable.

A bit of assembly and tweaking and we could not be happier with the results!  We haven't even tried to update the code yet, this is just the default code.  If we have time we will add some sensors and have the eyes react appropriately.  

Bill of Material:

June 20, 2018


Posted in glowforge, mac, macintosh, rh

The even mini-er mac mini.

mini mac mini

Stamps for scale

Following in the time honoured elmwood tradtion of making desk-toy-classic-mac-tchotchkes...

Quick test of laser cutting a Classic Mac SE/30 papercraft template .

Made a SVG cutting template to lop off all the internal paper folds. 

Used original MacPaint demo screen by Susan Kare.

Maybe this little guy will get some guts over the summer. 

We'll see...

flatpack cut


Making a Puzzle on our Glowforge

We have had a lot of fun with our Glowforge Laser Cutter!  The other day thought it would be neat to make a puzzle with it.  Turns out others have had the same idea, and there are already tools to do this!

Working with the Glowforge is super easy.  You can use most image files for the graphics and you can use SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) files for cuts.  

A fellow Glowforge owner named Draradech built a super handy tool for generating SVG cut files for puzzles.  You basically just select some parameters and it spits out the SVG file...too cool!  In this case, I made a 9x9 puzzle that was 240 x 175 mm:

You can engrave graphics into wood or acrylic with the Glowforge and then cut out the pieces, but on the first time I did this it made a puzzle that was way too hard.  Instead, I took a picture from an old calendar and put it on some 3mm birch plywood with spray adhesive:

After gluing the picture to the wood, I let it cure for 1 hour.  I then uploaded the SVG file into the Glowforge user interface.  I placed the cut lines onto the image, allowing a 1/4" gap all around since the Glowforge has about a 1/4" tolerance in terms of where you place the image/cuts.  Here are some pics from the Glowforge UI as well as video of the Glowforge running:


And here is the final result!  After wiping off the smoke residue from the picture, it looked great!  I glued the frame to an uncut piece of wood to finish everything off.

Total time invested was about 10 minutes, not including the runtime of 5 minutes on the Glowforge.  Pretty awesome!