Vertical Camera “Slider” V2

Starting from where the last iteration left off, there was a lot of feedback given that I had to consider. Things ranged from structure to code and even aesthetics. I decided to focus on three major aspects – Stability, Control, and Strength.

Strength – I knew I needed more stability but first I needed to make the structure much stronger. In the previous build, The strand material I was using kept digging into the foam structure I had made. I ended up using a piece of half-inch thick plywood and drilled holes in the corners.



Stability – The original build consisted of one central anchor point thus causing it to spin uncontrollably. This was a problem especially since I’m working with video. In order to fix this, I looked into different ways of stabilizing cameras and came to the conclusion that I need multiple anchor points and more weight.

Original – img_20180313_183816

New – img_20180401_175638

In addition to having four strands supporting the phone at the base, I still wanted a better solution for attaching the phone to the rest of the slider. I attempted this by 3d printing a bracket that would glue to the phone case and be tied to the base structure. Unfortunately, The prints didn’t go as planned and I resulted in a half-finished 3d print. I was still able to make it work and used it in the final build as it was better than what I have before. That being said, I did create some mockups of what it would have looked like.

Failed 3D Print – img_20180411_214249img_20180411_162530

Mockup – screen-shot-2018-04-11-at-9-24-34-pm


Control – This had solved the stability and strength issues, but I still wanted to control it. Since I was still sticking with only one DC motor I thought it would be a good idea to incorporate an on/off switch as well as a speed control dial. Once wired up, the motor will change direction every time I press the button and slow/speed up depending on the position of the potentiometer.

Wiring – img_20180411_205616

VideosClick Here

Airbrush Plotter

The idea behind this project was to take the features of an airbrush and a CNC and combine the two. The project itself was a larger undertaking than I had originally anticipated it to be. The reason for this is that I chose to manufacture an airbrush like device rather than utilize an existing fabricated one. In hindsight I would have taken an existing airbrush and modified it as opposed to building one. Originally the decision to make this part was one that stemmed from cost as well as a simple curiosity as to whether or not I could. The end result did not end up functioning as I had intended or as devices utilizing similar mechanisms do. The main body of the machine is comprised of MDF and pine. It utilizes a belt drive as well as a lead screw mechanism to move the airbrush head around the table. The movement is controlled by an analogue joystick and its travel is restricted by limit switches. The air valve and the needle control are driven by servos and are triggered using a 4 pin tact push button.

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The air supply consists of a refrigerator compressor, two fuel filters, condensation filter, a check valve, the air reservoir, a ball valve, a regulator and other miscellaneous hardware.

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Project 3 & 4 – Mechanical Puppet

For phase of the project I decided to build on top of the previous concept. I used my figure drawing puppet as the center of my piece and built a black box to encase all the component. I had previously used 2 servo motors to move the right hand and leg 45 degrees. For this part of the project, I experimented using DC motors and anchoring the puppet to the piece. The end result was a back-lit silhouette allowing the puppet to move with more freedom.

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This video was my main inspiration to understand body mechanics through circular motion.

These videos showcase the puppet being used Videos

I AM ROBOT: Robotic Scissors Arm

My concept was to create a robotic arm which can extend the length and grab or drop an object that is far from the user. Since we are allowed to use our own fingers to trigger the movement of the robot, I decided to use the shape of scissors. Therefore the user can put their fingers in the rings at the edge of the scissors to extend the robot arms.


I started off with creating the scissor with using Popsicle sticks. I used a total of 10 popsicles sticks and evenly drilled three holes (right edge, middle and left edge) on each of the sticks.


After creating holes on the sticks, I used square shaped woods which have holes to secure the connections of the sticks. I put toothpicks in the holes to attach them together and also glued them together with a glue gun. I attached metallic handles to create the scissor handles as well. I attached metallic handles to create the scissor handles as well.


After creating the scissor arms, I put two motors at the very top of the robotic arm. Moreover, I connected both of the motors with a button, so that the user can control the robotic arm by pressing the button.


However, I had to adjust the length of the robotic arms several times, since the gap between the robot arms prevented me from grabbing or dropping the object.


After few trials, O decided to use a foam board as the robotic arm, since it was very light and strong. I cut the pieces in “F” shape so that it could hold a sphere shaped Styrofoam.


As the last trial, I decided to put the motors on top of the scissor-shaped robot arm, so that the Styrofoam can more efficiently.

The final look of the device:


Code on GitHub:

Video Link:

Mika Hirata


<Augmented Production>




Assignment 4: Coffee Grabber

The initial concept was to create a claw that could determine the temperature of a beverage, pick it up, and finally pour out the beverage. This idea is inspired by my dislike for cold coffee and teas. Therefore, the machine would pour out any drinks that have gone could, and hold onto the ones that were still warm.

The original design used two  motors. One two control the claw and the other to mimic wrist movement. The wrist movement was so that the machine could pour out the contents of the cup if it was too cold. However, I scrapped the second motor in favour of using my own wrist.


The design was meant to be laser cut on 3mm wood. However, I also considered having it cut on acrylic but I was worried about the brittleness as I have never worked with acrylic before. In the end, due to a miscommunication I was unable to get the claw cut in wood. Therefore, the final product is built from cardboard. Although it is still able to function, it is not strong enough to hold any cups.

cutout           armbuilt

To determine temperature, the claw uses a LM35 that can detect temperatures of 0° to 100° C. It is located at the bottom of the claws and it comes in contact with the surface of the cups. Although the sensor worked properly at first, it began to read everything at a higher temperature. For example, in a room temperature setting it would read the area as being 55° instead of 22°. I suspect this maybe because the sensor kept coming into contact surface between 60° to 80°C.

sensoercloseup2          wiring

Overall, the machine is able to detect the temperature of drinks and act accordingly. However, in the future I will need to adjust the material and design of the claw shape in order to actually pick up a cup. I would like to explore stronger materials such as acrylic or metal. That being said, the arms of the claw would still require support to allow for larger/fuller cups. As for now, there are two “wings” on the side that support the arms when they are fully open. This ensures the arms are straight when grabbing the cup. Finally, as mentioned in class, the design of the claw should be more customized to a certain kind of cup instead of attempting to be universal.




The Braid Machine (Weaving Assistant 2.0)

With the original weaving assistant being quite lacklustre, a new version was created. The main difference with this model is that the servo motor has been replaces with 2 steppers. The device still maintains a uniform cyclical motion but now has multiple ways of attaching strings to create different weaves.

The operator must keep the strings taut in order to keep an even weave. Besides this, they can weave separate strings or turn the end to create different patterns.




Known issues: Strings tend to get wrapped around the motor when not kept taut. It does not cause any damage to the machine but can disrupt the weave.

The arduino side of the machine must be kept weighed down to prevent it from tipping over.

20180403_124505 The two stepper motors move in opposite directions and navigate the the strings towards the center

20180403_130254These were attached to tubes onto which the string can be woven around. It is of not that the strings must be wrapped in the direction opposite of its respective motor in order to work properly. If there are 2 strings used on a single side then that side must have 2 parallel strings wound.

20180403_131631Due to issues with the code whenever the arduino was connected to my laptop, an autonomous power source was tested. A toggle switch was added for ease of use. This image shows the test wiring of the switch.

20180403_140306The motors are mounted adjacent to each other and close enough that their hooks will overlap the centre while turning. The final version has 5 hooks: 2 on each motor and one stationary in the center.

Stranded Materials: Thread Winding Device

Since I was able to connect ultrasonic proximity sensor and stepper motor during the class activity, I decided to use them as the main trigger for this project. I decided to create a thread-winding device, which can be triggered by human motions. However, I had to go through many iterations to make the stepper motor to work with threads, because I realized how the stepper motor was very weak and small.


For the first step, I put a sponge material on top of the stepper motor with four needles on top. The sponge rotated very well since the materials were very light.


To build the machine I create a triangularly shaped cardboard support with using three layers of cardboard. At the very bottom of the cardboard, I punched a hole to put a think wooden stick, so that the stepper motor can rest on the white Styrofoam.


I glued Styrofoam and a wood stick by using a glue gun.

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To rest the stepper motor on top of the Styrofoam, I added two extra pieces of Styrofoam on both sides of the edges.

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I added the orange sponge on top of the stepper motor with four needles. Moreover, I created another hole for a wooden stick to put the sewing thread with plastic material. I put the threads in all of the wholes of the needles, but there was too much resistance so that the stepper motor got stuck very easily.


I changed the direction of the wooden stick to the vertical direction so that there is less resistance. However, I realized that the plastic inside the thread was too heavy. After some trials, I changed the plastic part of the sewing thread into a paper.


After couple trials of shifting the position of threads, I ended us putting the threads on the bottom left corner of the triangle.


Moreover, the orange sponge easily got stuck on the motor, because it was still too heavy for the stepper motor . I cut the sponge in H shape to reduce the resistance.


Furthermore, I realized that the threads kept going down and it was one of the reasons why the motor did not move smoothly. I added four chopsticks and two strings on the triangle-shaped cardboard to prevent the main thread to fall off from the orange sponge.


Final Look of my device:




Code (on Github):

Mika Hirata / 3154546

<Augmented Production>




Assignment 3

The purpose of this machine was to take analog information provided by a joystick and turn it into an information that plotted out the path of a string. This required the utilization of linear movement and subsequently a linear drive mechanism. Therefore I choose to use a piece of 1/4-20 threaded rod and a coupling nut to act as a lead screw that is supported by a pair of guide rods and linear bearing blocks. This type of mechanism is most commonly used in CNC machining equipment. The draw backs to this were that the movement was slow and not very efficient as threaded rod found in most hardware stores has most likely been abused or mishandled at some point. This leaves it prone to flaws which can inhibit its performance and ultimately inefficient. The thread weaves its way around a bed of 612 finishing nails before it is stopped by limit switches when it reaches either end of the bed. The machine is driven by an Arduino and a set of DRV8825 stepper motor drivers which have a range of full step to 1/32 of a step. What would have made this machine work more efficiently and effectively would be the utilization of an actual lead screw which would improve not only the performance of the machine but also the speed. Increasing the voltage would also affect the speed of the machine. I will continue to develop this machine I think has potential

Assignment 3: Yarn Spinner

Three concepts were created before settling on the final idea. The original design was to have a machine that could braid in order to create thickly braided yarn scarves. However, in order to create the braiding action, this required one of the strands to loop around the other two, which became much more complicated than anticipated.

The second design uses four strands instead of three. This discarded the braiding action, but required a large motor to spin the four strands together. In the diagram below, it shows two sets of strands twisting together while finally being twisted again to combine the two sets. This proved difficult because it required a motor that could not only twist the two sets, but also needed to carry the motors that twisted the initial strands. This also meant the first two inner motors had to spin faster than the third motor. Overall, it resulted more tangles than an actual neatly twisted strand.


Final and chosen concept is a simplification of the second concept. It twists two strands instead of four. This allowed for more control over the amount of twist and the size of yarn that could be used. In this project, I used thicker yarn in order to follow the original scarf concept. Depending on the speed of the servo, different twist patterns could be made. In order to control this, I added a knob that determined the speed and direction of the servo.

By being able to control the direction of the servo, I could also unwind any strands made or change the twist pattern.

Altogether, this final design is similar to the second design but with an extra step. By creating two twisted strands and then twisting those together, it creates the same final result as the second design: Four strands of yarn twisted separately before twisting altogether.

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Above Images: Making the first strand.


Above Image: Motor speed determining pattern.


Above Image: Final product of combining two strands together with different twist patterns.


Strand Materials – Vertical Camera “Slider”

For quite a while I’ve wanted to make some sort of vertical cinematic camera slider and this was the perfect opportunity to create that. It started off with a project last year in which I created a horizontal DSLR camera slider.



But after that project, I thought to myself how could I make a vertical version of that same slider. Then the idea came to use string to hoist up a platform of some sort. From there I started experimenting with using different types of motors and based on experience I gained from the previous project I knew torque was going to be a challenge. I tested different types of DC motors and decided to use a 143:1 geared DC motor.


In order to help the string accumulate at the shaft of the motor, I 3d printed a mini half spool that could be screwed into the motor.


From there I constructed a platform out of cardboard and tied some string to it.


The rest of the electronics such as the Arduino and power adapter are housed in a small box. Reducing the size of the entire device was important to me because it allows for portability and also differentiates it from other vertical camera sliders.


Videos: Click here.