A photo of 3D printed robots standing on a workbench

So on the 30th of June I delivered my first hands on 3D printing workshop at The Edge. I was pretty excited, because I was going to take 15 people through printing out a component for a toy robot (the T1), wiring and soldering up a simple Arduino nano and micro servo setup. Finally, finishing it out with a touch of programming to fill their little robot brains.

It worked out pretty well, and I couldn’t have delivered the workshop without the help of Daniel Flood, or Michael Candy. Everyone seemed to have a pretty fun time putting their robots together, and everyone took home their own robot walker that they had crafted themselves.

Afterwards we had a bit of a brainstorming session on how to make the workshop even better next time around:

  • I had printed complete kits beforehand (just in case of printer malfunction), however only a few participants used the gear that they printed in the workshop, opting to use the pre-printed gear. Next time around I will remove the pre-printed gear so that participants have to use the parts they print in the workshop.
  • Got a couple of really good suggestions for design improvements for the robot.
  • Might also pre-load the Arduino Nano’s with walking code. Still have workstations available for people to hack and change the walking code, we did have a couple of people immediately want to make their robot faster. But having some code on the Arduino’s gives people immediate rewards after the long slog of assembly.
  • We had a couple of dead / faulty Arduino Nano’s, we had plenty of spares but the only problem is that everyone had assembled their robot first. Oops. We should have gotten them to test their wiring / connections before putting the whole robot together. That way if we need to make changes / fixes it is much easier and faster.
  • I also had a couple of LED’s packed into the kits as an ‘advanced’ optional extra, just in case people wanted to pimp their robot a little bit. This was a bit unnecessary, as the ‘advanced’ people just wanted to make their robot faster. The LED’s then also made it feel as though the assembly process was incomplete. “But what are these extra parts for?” So I think I will drop those the next time around.

So if you want hands on experience printing out your own toy robot that you can take home with you, sign up for upcoming sessions of the Rise of the Machines workshops being held at The Edge:

  • July 28th 2012 (EDIT: SOLD OUT)
  • September 8th 2012 (EDIT: SOLD OUT)


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