WordPress plugin – OCD Plugin Stats

OCD Plugin Stats WordPress plugin screenshot

OCD Plugin Stats WordPress plugin screenshot

I’ve just published another WordPress plugin called OCD Plugin Stats.  This isn’t a plugin that would really interest most people.  If you’re a WordPress plugin developer and like seeing the stats for your plugins, OCD Plugin Stats will let you monitor all the stats for all of your plugins in one convenient location in your WordPress dashboard.

Unless you publish your own plugins, I can’t imagine anyone would be terribly interested in such a thing.  My reason for making this plugin was that (a) I found it useful, so perhaps others would too and (b) I wanted to learn how to create a WordPress dashboard widget.

WordPress Plugin: Easy CC License

Creative Commons License
WordPress Plugin: Easy CC License by MakerBlock is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at makerblock.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://makerblock.com/2012/02/wordpress-plugin-easy-cc-license/.

I’ve written a new WordPress plugin!  It uses the Creative Commons API to grab the appropriate license based on your license choices.  While there’s still room to improve the plugin, I’m pretty happy with the way it’s turned out.  I’ve made a conscious effort to use best plugin programming practices – and learned a lot in the process. 1

You can download this Creative Commons WordPress plugin here!

Posts about Easy CC License - a sweet WordPress plugin
  1. WordPress Plugin: Easy CC License
  1. Most of the plugin’s functions are wrapped in a class and includes a deactivation function. []

Plugin Considerations

When designing/writing software, or I suppose any kind of engineering for that matter, there is always a tension between features and complexity.  I really want this Simple Series WordPress plugin to be simple and easy to use.  But, as I use it more and more I find there are some possible features that I wouldn’t mind having.

For example, my DrawBot series is at 43 posts at this moment.  The problem is that each post, no matter how short, now has an entire screen-length’s worth of a list for the series. 1  Now, there are several possible ways to handle this:

  • I suppose when I’m looking to design a UI, the most important things to focus on is what would the user expect to see and happen.  It certainly makes sense for there to be a uniform series list in every post.  But, it seems slightly inelegant to have it that way for every single post when you’re looking at an entire page.
  • I could modify the plugin so that it would only create a list once per page, rather than once per post.  I suppose subsequent instances could then provide a single link to the series list in the initial post.  I think this would be non-intuitive as a person navigated the page.
  • I could modify the plugin so that it only showed the current post plus X posts before and after where X is some arbitrary number I choose.  (Although, I’d probably make it user specifiable).  I’d have to dig into some fancy scmancy CSS to define a different start-number for the HTML ordered list, but this isn’t a huge problem.  Ideally, it would say there are Y prior posts and Z subsequent posts as well.  Then again, it is really helpful (at least to me) to be able to click back up or down through a series list.

Perhaps the optimal result is something in between?

  • On a page consisting of a single post, the entire list should be displayed.
  • On a page consisting of multiple posts, the subsequent lists should be truncated in some meaningful fashion.  Perhaps the last and subsequent X posts, with a little sentence indicating Y more prior posts and Z more subsequent posts.  When you click on the “Y more prior posts” it could take you to the first instance of the series list on that page and when you click on the “Z more subsequent posts” it could take you to the next post listed in the series on the first instance of the series list on that page. 2
  • Sadly, this system would not really change much for the RSS feed readers.
  1. I can’t even imagine how much text is devoted to just the series list on those DrawBot posts in your RSS feed. []
  2. Um.  This sounded a lot clearer in my head as I typed it than it probably reads. []

DrawBot – Another Successful(ish) Drawing!, and an Update

A summer rose from our garden, drawn by a freakin’ narcoleptic robot

A summer rose from our garden, drawn by a freakin’ narcoleptic robot

The drawings are getting better with a little tinkering.  I’ve designed, printed, and installed new motor spools.  These have a thicker central core, so they should be able to collect more monofilament line with slightly less distortion.  I’ve made a few changes to the setup.  Dialing in the starting area and calibrating the starting home point were pretty important.

I’m still having a little trouble with the robot occasionally stalling out.  Although, now I think it is a symptom of the controller software rather than a problem with the Arduino.  There’s no set time after printing, no set time after running the program, or other noticeable precipitating event which seems to cause this problem.  At some point during a drawing, the controller software just reports the Arduino as being busy. 1  Here’s what I do to correct the problem:

  1. Disconnect the USB cable from the laptop
  2. Click “Queue->Export Queue” and save as a text document
  3. Open the text document and perform the following operation
    1. Select, copy, paste the first line above the first line – so now you see a duplicate.  So, for instance in the image above I had to copy “C05,2700,2370,10,247,END” and paste this above the same line – so that it would look like the robot would be receiving the same command twice.
    2. Edit the line “C05,2700,2370,10,247,END” so that I change the command to start with “C09” and delete the last two numbers and the “END” statement, so that it now looks like, “C09,2700,2370,END”
    3. Save the text document with these changes
  4. Shut down/close the controller software
  5. Restart the controller software
  6. Reconnect the USB cable to the laptop
  7. Click “Setup->Serial Port…” and click on the serial port of choice
  8. Click “Queue->Import Queue” and choose the text document I just edited
  9. Start the queue again!

The reason I suspect this is a controller software and not an Arduino firmware issue is that I don’t have to reset the Arduino at any point – just disconnect the USB, restart the controller software, reconnect the USB, and start the queue again.  I would think that if there were a problem with the Arduino firmware, I would need to reset the board itself.

The lowest you can specify as the “grid size”2 in the Polargraph controller software is “20,” but you can use a smaller value by editing the “polargraph.properties.txt” file.  In the image above I used a grid size of “10” which appears to cover 1/4 the area of the size 20 pixel.  That image probably took about five hours to draw.  I think it looks really nice.  The image above seems to have been distorted by my scanner.  It came out almost perfectly square with a slight warp to the top right corner. 3  You can see some bare spots in the image above – that’s where the pen, for whatever reason, just wasn’t making a mark on the paper.  I suspect it has something to do with that region of the paper being either slightly smoother and/or slightly more depressed than the surrounding regions.  Otherwise, there would be no reason why the next row would have a similar defect nearby.

I’ve noticed the controller software also tends to forget the machine width, page size, and page position.  I’ve updated this, saved it, and uploaded it to the Arduino several times, but it doesn’t seem to stick past a reboot of the software.  Ultimately, these are very minor concerns and really just something to be aware of when I’m printing.  I just about couldn’t be happier with the controlling software.  That piece of software plus the Arduino sketch together have basically made this a nearly effortless project.  Besides a hiccup soldering a circuit board wrong, this entire project went together very quickly and yielded almost immediately gratifying results.

I’ve done several drawings in the last few days.  I’m still having trouble getting a perfectly rectangular and centered result.  I may have to adjust the Y offsets and double-check my machine measurements.  I still also notice a slight upwards warp to a drawing in the top right corner.  But, I’m looking forward to additional experimentation – it’s all part of the adventure!

Last, but certainly not least, I want to make it clear that Sandy Noble’s software for the Polargraph/drawbot is really really great.  That I am having some minor calibration troubles speaks more to my incompetence than Sandy’s excellent program.  So, a great big thank-you to Sandy for his continued hard work on this software!

Posts in the DrawBot Adventure Series
  1. Wanna make a DrawBot?
  2. DrawBot Resources and Links
  3. DrawBot, the Adventure Begins
  4. DrawBots for the slow learner
  5. DrawBot - Parts Ordered!!!
  6. DrawBot - The Breakdown
  7. DrawBot - Parts Shipped!!!
  8. DrawBot - The Plan!
  9. DrawBot - The Hacks
  10. DrawBot - Giant Unicorn?
  11. DrawBot - The Delivery?
  12. DrawBot - The Delivery, Part II
  13. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part I
  14. DrawBot – The Software, Part I (and an existential conversation)
  15. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part IV
  16. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part II
  17. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part III
  18. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part IV
  19. DrawBot – Halp!!! No - seriously, a little help?
  20. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part V
  21. DrawBot – The Silver Lining of Failure
  22. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part VI
  23. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part V
  24. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VI
  25. DrawBot – Printed Parts
  26. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VII
  27. DrawBot – The Operation, Part I
  28. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VIII
  29. DrawBot – The Breakdown, Part II
  30. DrawBot – Printing!
  31. DrawBot – Printing, Part II
  32. DrawBot – Why are you crying?
  33. DrawBot – Calibration
  34. DrawBot – Pen Selection
  35. DrawBot – How to Recover from a Stalled Print!
  36. DrawBot – Drawing Success(ish)!!!
  37. DrawBot – Pen Selection, Part II
  38. DrawBot – Onwards and Upwards!
  39. DrawBot – Another Successful(ish) Drawing!, and an Update
  40. Restarting a Stalled DrawBot Drawing
  41. TSP FTW!
  42. Speedier DrawBot Drawings
  43. Two new DrawBot links! And an update!
  44. Excellent DrawBot Slides
  45. Another Drawing Robot!!!
  46. DrawBot Practice Tip: A Watched Pot
  47. Why do DrawBots draw on walls?
  48. Maze Code + Polargraph?
  49. Ideas for improving my DrawBot
  50. DrawBot Aesthetic Re-Design Ideas
  51. The Eagle Has Landed
  52. Every Body Needs a Skull
  53. This project is not going to overengineer itself
  54. Overengineered Spools
  55. Overengineered Stepper Motor Mounts, Filament Guides
  56. Overengineered Bolt Endcaps, Case Holder
  57. Sourcing DrawBot Parts
  58. DrawBot - A Tour!
  59. DrawBot - A Preview
  60. Arduino Powered Drawing Robot Poll
  61. Building an Arduino Drawing Robot - On The Cheap
  62. DrawBot - Printed Parts Tour
  63. Unidentified Foam Object
  64. Arduino Powered Drawing Robot - Take 2 (Or 3)
  65. DrawBot, now ACTUALLY wall mounted!
  66. A Study of Drawing Robot Pen Holders and Design Considerations
  67. Drawing Robot Pen Holders, Calligraphy Pens, and Thought Experiments
  68. Ideal Qualities in a Drawing Robot Pen Holder
  69. Enough talk! Finally a pen holder!
  70. DrawBot Pen Holder Post Mortem
  71. To Maker Faire!!!
  72. Drawing Robot Penmanship
  73. PlotterBot at Maker Faire Bay Area 2013!
  74. PlotterBot.com - a new site dedicated to drawing robots
  1. Aren’t we all, Arduino?  Aren’t we all? []
  2. What is essentially the pixel size []
  3. This one was commissioned at the request of my daughter and now hangs in her room. []

Guilty Pleasure #293

I found a container of canned air at work.  I practically emptied it into my laptop and desktop keyboard.  I held the desktop keyboard vertically and ran the air can up and down.

In doing so, I accidentally zapped my hand.  Cold!  I know the directions say not to do it, but then I did it again because it was kinda fun.  The directions are pretty clear – no shaking, no zapping skin, immediate and thorough washing of the afflicted area, and no (under any circumstances) huffing.  I didn’t inhale.

 

DrawBot – Onwards and Upwards!

A few thoughts about operating a DrawBot, in semi-organized fashion:

  • Vertical Surface Drawing.  There is an interesting tension in the design of a vertical line-driven drawing robot.  As the drawing surface orientation approaches horizontal, the easier time the robot will have using a standard pen to draw, the more difficult it will be to control the drawing component via a line system, the  greater the weight that would be required,1 a greater weight puts a greater stress on the line and the motor and has some effect on the responsiveness of the drawing component, and the more the weights on the drawing component would be in contact with the drawing surface – possibly causing smudges.  The closer the surface is to vertical, the easier it will be to actually operate as a line-driven robot, the less weight required,2 but the more difficult it would be to have a pressure from the drawing component on the drawing surface.
  • Robot Portability.  Right now my robot is quite portable – and, of course, there are costs and benefits associated with this.  Right now I’m limited to the “size” of my robot at 2’x4′ since that’s the size of the piece of plywood I bought and on which the motors are mounted.  However, it is very easy to just move the robot by putting the plywood in a different location in the house.
  • Robot Location.  This is, in some senses, the flip side to robot portability.  I’d love to put the ‘bot up on the wall and draw something really really huge.  I don’t see that happening until I’m more comfortable running the robot, have found a better pen/paper combination, and – perhaps most importantly – figured out how to run the robot wirelessly or off an SD card.
  • Drawing To-Do’s:  Ideally, I’d like to put the robot to work drawing something on an epic scale.  A high resolution photograph of earth, moon, or pretty much anything from NASA.  Perhaps a map of middle earth, the 100 acre woods, or the Princess Bride story?  A photograph of the world at night, with highlights of the world’s electricity consumption.  Or, some of the INSANELY awesome super sweet posters from various XKCD comics.
Posts in the DrawBot Adventure Series
  1. Wanna make a DrawBot?
  2. DrawBot Resources and Links
  3. DrawBot, the Adventure Begins
  4. DrawBots for the slow learner
  5. DrawBot - Parts Ordered!!!
  6. DrawBot - The Breakdown
  7. DrawBot - Parts Shipped!!!
  8. DrawBot - The Plan!
  9. DrawBot - The Hacks
  10. DrawBot - Giant Unicorn?
  11. DrawBot - The Delivery?
  12. DrawBot - The Delivery, Part II
  13. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part I
  14. DrawBot – The Software, Part I (and an existential conversation)
  15. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part IV
  16. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part II
  17. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part III
  18. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part IV
  19. DrawBot – Halp!!! No - seriously, a little help?
  20. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part V
  21. DrawBot – The Silver Lining of Failure
  22. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part VI
  23. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part V
  24. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VI
  25. DrawBot – Printed Parts
  26. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VII
  27. DrawBot – The Operation, Part I
  28. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VIII
  29. DrawBot – The Breakdown, Part II
  30. DrawBot – Printing!
  31. DrawBot – Printing, Part II
  32. DrawBot – Why are you crying?
  33. DrawBot – Calibration
  34. DrawBot – Pen Selection
  35. DrawBot – How to Recover from a Stalled Print!
  36. DrawBot – Drawing Success(ish)!!!
  37. DrawBot – Pen Selection, Part II
  38. DrawBot – Onwards and Upwards!
  39. DrawBot – Another Successful(ish) Drawing!, and an Update
  40. Restarting a Stalled DrawBot Drawing
  41. TSP FTW!
  42. Speedier DrawBot Drawings
  43. Two new DrawBot links! And an update!
  44. Excellent DrawBot Slides
  45. Another Drawing Robot!!!
  46. DrawBot Practice Tip: A Watched Pot
  47. Why do DrawBots draw on walls?
  48. Maze Code + Polargraph?
  49. Ideas for improving my DrawBot
  50. DrawBot Aesthetic Re-Design Ideas
  51. The Eagle Has Landed
  52. Every Body Needs a Skull
  53. This project is not going to overengineer itself
  54. Overengineered Spools
  55. Overengineered Stepper Motor Mounts, Filament Guides
  56. Overengineered Bolt Endcaps, Case Holder
  57. Sourcing DrawBot Parts
  58. DrawBot - A Tour!
  59. DrawBot - A Preview
  60. Arduino Powered Drawing Robot Poll
  61. Building an Arduino Drawing Robot - On The Cheap
  62. DrawBot - Printed Parts Tour
  63. Unidentified Foam Object
  64. Arduino Powered Drawing Robot - Take 2 (Or 3)
  65. DrawBot, now ACTUALLY wall mounted!
  66. A Study of Drawing Robot Pen Holders and Design Considerations
  67. Drawing Robot Pen Holders, Calligraphy Pens, and Thought Experiments
  68. Ideal Qualities in a Drawing Robot Pen Holder
  69. Enough talk! Finally a pen holder!
  70. DrawBot Pen Holder Post Mortem
  71. To Maker Faire!!!
  72. Drawing Robot Penmanship
  73. PlotterBot at Maker Faire Bay Area 2013!
  74. PlotterBot.com - a new site dedicated to drawing robots
  1. This my theory, anyhow.  My reasoning is that as the surface approaches horizontal, the more weight you’d need to pull at the drawing component because more of the force of the weight would be absorbed directly by the drawing surface itself – along with some friction as it passes over the surface as well. []
  2. See reasoning regarding weight above. []

DrawBot – Pen Selection, Part II

I believe my next challenge, aside from better DrawBot calibration, is to find a good pen and paper combination.

This afternoon after I got back from a meeting, but before I went back to the office, I stopped off at an office supply store.  The local craft/hobby store near work didn’t have any really big rolls of butcher/craft paper – which was very disappointing.  Luckily, the office supply store had a slightly larger roll of white paper. 1

I really went there to check out the pens.  And, there were a LOT of these pens.  An entire side of one large aisle was devoted to pens.  However, since this was an office supply store, you could only buy these pens in office supply quantities for office supply amounts.  I was not about to drop $20.00 for a five pack of multi-colored pens only to find out that that style of pen just doesn’t work in a near-horizontal drawing robot kung fu grip.  I even checked out the pen refills, which were more reasonable – but the selection wasn’t there.

One thing I did while I was there was write down the name of every brand name pen manufacturer I saw.  Here’s the list I came up with:

  • BIC
  • Cross
  • Montblanc
  • Paper Mate
  • Parker Quink
  • Penatia
  • Pentel
  • Pigma
  • Pilot
  • Sharpie
  • Uni ball
  • Waterman

While I understand Montblanc and Waterman pens to be on the expensive side, I would gladly pay for a pen that “just worked.”  I would point out that the Pigma was no where to be seen at the office supply store.  This is a really nice quality art pen and I’m actually surprised I didn’t see any of them when I was at the craft/hobby story yesterday.

One other side note… while at that craft/hobby store I noticed fountain pens.  I’ve never tried to write with one, but I did wonder how effective they would be in a nearly horizontal orientation.  It could result in some very cool drawing effects.

But, for now I think I’ll focus on robot calibration for the moment while I ponder this move.  In the meantime, if you’ve got a pen suggestion, please let me know!

Posts in the DrawBot Adventure Series
  1. Wanna make a DrawBot?
  2. DrawBot Resources and Links
  3. DrawBot, the Adventure Begins
  4. DrawBots for the slow learner
  5. DrawBot - Parts Ordered!!!
  6. DrawBot - The Breakdown
  7. DrawBot - Parts Shipped!!!
  8. DrawBot - The Plan!
  9. DrawBot - The Hacks
  10. DrawBot - Giant Unicorn?
  11. DrawBot - The Delivery?
  12. DrawBot - The Delivery, Part II
  13. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part I
  14. DrawBot – The Software, Part I (and an existential conversation)
  15. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part IV
  16. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part II
  17. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part III
  18. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part IV
  19. DrawBot – Halp!!! No - seriously, a little help?
  20. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part V
  21. DrawBot – The Silver Lining of Failure
  22. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part VI
  23. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part V
  24. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VI
  25. DrawBot – Printed Parts
  26. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VII
  27. DrawBot – The Operation, Part I
  28. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VIII
  29. DrawBot – The Breakdown, Part II
  30. DrawBot – Printing!
  31. DrawBot – Printing, Part II
  32. DrawBot – Why are you crying?
  33. DrawBot – Calibration
  34. DrawBot – Pen Selection
  35. DrawBot – How to Recover from a Stalled Print!
  36. DrawBot – Drawing Success(ish)!!!
  37. DrawBot – Pen Selection, Part II
  38. DrawBot – Onwards and Upwards!
  39. DrawBot – Another Successful(ish) Drawing!, and an Update
  40. Restarting a Stalled DrawBot Drawing
  41. TSP FTW!
  42. Speedier DrawBot Drawings
  43. Two new DrawBot links! And an update!
  44. Excellent DrawBot Slides
  45. Another Drawing Robot!!!
  46. DrawBot Practice Tip: A Watched Pot
  47. Why do DrawBots draw on walls?
  48. Maze Code + Polargraph?
  49. Ideas for improving my DrawBot
  50. DrawBot Aesthetic Re-Design Ideas
  51. The Eagle Has Landed
  52. Every Body Needs a Skull
  53. This project is not going to overengineer itself
  54. Overengineered Spools
  55. Overengineered Stepper Motor Mounts, Filament Guides
  56. Overengineered Bolt Endcaps, Case Holder
  57. Sourcing DrawBot Parts
  58. DrawBot - A Tour!
  59. DrawBot - A Preview
  60. Arduino Powered Drawing Robot Poll
  61. Building an Arduino Drawing Robot - On The Cheap
  62. DrawBot - Printed Parts Tour
  63. Unidentified Foam Object
  64. Arduino Powered Drawing Robot - Take 2 (Or 3)
  65. DrawBot, now ACTUALLY wall mounted!
  66. A Study of Drawing Robot Pen Holders and Design Considerations
  67. Drawing Robot Pen Holders, Calligraphy Pens, and Thought Experiments
  68. Ideal Qualities in a Drawing Robot Pen Holder
  69. Enough talk! Finally a pen holder!
  70. DrawBot Pen Holder Post Mortem
  71. To Maker Faire!!!
  72. Drawing Robot Penmanship
  73. PlotterBot at Maker Faire Bay Area 2013!
  74. PlotterBot.com - a new site dedicated to drawing robots
  1. For slightly cheaper than the craft store too! []

DrawBot – Drawing Success(ish)!!!

Starry Night by Van Gogh, drawn by a freakin’ narcoleptic robot

Starry Night by Van Gogh, drawn by a freakin’ narcoleptic robot

I think that turned out rather well!!!  If you look closely at the area circled in red in the next picture, you’ll see where there is a discontinuity in the line.  You may have to look at the large version to really see where this happens.

Starry Night by Van Gogh, drawn by a freakin’ narcoleptic robot, with the error circled

Starry Night by Van Gogh, drawn by a freakin’ narcoleptic robot, with the error circled

I suspect that my attempt to fix the stalled drawing probably did not have a role to play in the robot drawing off the top edge of the paper.  I think that is my fault for badly centering the paper on the robot.  Let’s see it again, without the red circle, with the original image overlaid.

Starry Night by Van Gogh, drawn by a freakin’ robot with narcolepsy, overlaid the subject image

Starry Night by Van Gogh, drawn by a freakin’ robot with narcolepsy, overlaid the subject image

There is clearly some calibration and whatnot to be done, but I’m still amazingly pleased with the results.  As much as I’ve blogged about drawing robots, the entire process from assembling parts ordered online to having a machine that actually draws stuff has been amazingly painless.  Based on the image above, it looks like I need to:

  • Adjust the aspect ratio, so that the image isn’t made too wide by the drawing process.  I suspect this has something to do with the “Setup->Machine Width” setting.  That was the setting that caused the drawing to be unnaturally narrow.
  • Adjust the amount of line that is unspooled in the center of the drawing.  I suspect this has something to do with the “Setup->MM per Rev” setting.  I have nothing upon which to base this suspicion except that my feeling is the robot is spooling out too little line.  I suspect that if I tell it that the spool is slightly smaller (closer to 47 than the 50 I’m using now) I would end up with a better result.
Posts in the DrawBot Adventure Series
  1. Wanna make a DrawBot?
  2. DrawBot Resources and Links
  3. DrawBot, the Adventure Begins
  4. DrawBots for the slow learner
  5. DrawBot - Parts Ordered!!!
  6. DrawBot - The Breakdown
  7. DrawBot - Parts Shipped!!!
  8. DrawBot - The Plan!
  9. DrawBot - The Hacks
  10. DrawBot - Giant Unicorn?
  11. DrawBot - The Delivery?
  12. DrawBot - The Delivery, Part II
  13. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part I
  14. DrawBot – The Software, Part I (and an existential conversation)
  15. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part IV
  16. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part II
  17. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part III
  18. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part IV
  19. DrawBot – Halp!!! No - seriously, a little help?
  20. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part V
  21. DrawBot – The Silver Lining of Failure
  22. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part VI
  23. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part V
  24. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VI
  25. DrawBot – Printed Parts
  26. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VII
  27. DrawBot – The Operation, Part I
  28. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VIII
  29. DrawBot – The Breakdown, Part II
  30. DrawBot – Printing!
  31. DrawBot – Printing, Part II
  32. DrawBot – Why are you crying?
  33. DrawBot – Calibration
  34. DrawBot – Pen Selection
  35. DrawBot – How to Recover from a Stalled Print!
  36. DrawBot – Drawing Success(ish)!!!
  37. DrawBot – Pen Selection, Part II
  38. DrawBot – Onwards and Upwards!
  39. DrawBot – Another Successful(ish) Drawing!, and an Update
  40. Restarting a Stalled DrawBot Drawing
  41. TSP FTW!
  42. Speedier DrawBot Drawings
  43. Two new DrawBot links! And an update!
  44. Excellent DrawBot Slides
  45. Another Drawing Robot!!!
  46. DrawBot Practice Tip: A Watched Pot
  47. Why do DrawBots draw on walls?
  48. Maze Code + Polargraph?
  49. Ideas for improving my DrawBot
  50. DrawBot Aesthetic Re-Design Ideas
  51. The Eagle Has Landed
  52. Every Body Needs a Skull
  53. This project is not going to overengineer itself
  54. Overengineered Spools
  55. Overengineered Stepper Motor Mounts, Filament Guides
  56. Overengineered Bolt Endcaps, Case Holder
  57. Sourcing DrawBot Parts
  58. DrawBot - A Tour!
  59. DrawBot - A Preview
  60. Arduino Powered Drawing Robot Poll
  61. Building an Arduino Drawing Robot - On The Cheap
  62. DrawBot - Printed Parts Tour
  63. Unidentified Foam Object
  64. Arduino Powered Drawing Robot - Take 2 (Or 3)
  65. DrawBot, now ACTUALLY wall mounted!
  66. A Study of Drawing Robot Pen Holders and Design Considerations
  67. Drawing Robot Pen Holders, Calligraphy Pens, and Thought Experiments
  68. Ideal Qualities in a Drawing Robot Pen Holder
  69. Enough talk! Finally a pen holder!
  70. DrawBot Pen Holder Post Mortem
  71. To Maker Faire!!!
  72. Drawing Robot Penmanship
  73. PlotterBot at Maker Faire Bay Area 2013!
  74. PlotterBot.com - a new site dedicated to drawing robots

DrawBot – How to Recover from a Stalled Print!

I should really have entitled this post “How to mostly recover from a stalled print.”  Several times now I’ve had a problem with the DrawBot stalling out and stopping a print.  When this has happened, hours can pass and the little ‘bot will do nothing at all.

Such as last night.  It was probably 80% done drawing Starry Night when it … just… stopped.

Here’s what I saw and here’s how I (mostly) fixed it:

  • The Symptoms
    • No DrawBot movement1
    • No scrolling of the command queue
    • The ‘bot status read “BUSY [insert normal seeming string command I didn’t write down]”2
    • The motors were quite warm
    • And the poor little Motor Shield was warm as well3
  • The Fix45
    •  I figured that, for whatever reason, the little ‘bot just seized up – but that perhaps if I could get it to respond to commands I might set it back on track.
    • The control software was responsive enough that I could “Queue->Export Queue“, which I did.
    • The problem with trying to reset the board or the control software and just feeding it the remaining part of the queue is that it wouldn’t remember where it was.  So, I figured if I could convince it that it was already where it was supposed to be, it might just continue on as if everything were okay.
    • I had seen from prior command queues that the code, “C09,NUMBER1,NUMBER2,END” appeared to be the way the machine would apply “Input->Set Pen Position.”
    • I then looked at the code that I had exported from the queue.  The first item was:
      • C05,3103,4350,29,133,END
    • So, I edited the text file so that it read as follows:
      • c09,3103,4350,END
      • C05,3103,4350,29,133,END
      • …the rest of the command queue
    • Which I believed essentially tell the ‘bot that it was where it was supposed to be and to continue on as if everything was normal.
    • I then disconnected the USB cable
    • Closed the control software
    • Restarted the control software
    • Reconnected the USB cable
    • Reestablished contact with the ‘bot, “Setup->Serial Port” and selected the port of choice for my laptop
    • Clicked the queue to start it up again…
    • It seems to have worked – but may possibly have shifted up one pixel.  This is why I say this was mostly a recovery.  I suspect that if I should have moved the pen down a little and see if I could get it to draw the next pixel in line.

I’ll scan and post this drawing as well and will point out the spot where I tried this little fix.

Posts in the DrawBot Adventure Series
  1. Wanna make a DrawBot?
  2. DrawBot Resources and Links
  3. DrawBot, the Adventure Begins
  4. DrawBots for the slow learner
  5. DrawBot - Parts Ordered!!!
  6. DrawBot - The Breakdown
  7. DrawBot - Parts Shipped!!!
  8. DrawBot - The Plan!
  9. DrawBot - The Hacks
  10. DrawBot - Giant Unicorn?
  11. DrawBot - The Delivery?
  12. DrawBot - The Delivery, Part II
  13. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part I
  14. DrawBot – The Software, Part I (and an existential conversation)
  15. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part IV
  16. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part II
  17. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part III
  18. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part IV
  19. DrawBot – Halp!!! No - seriously, a little help?
  20. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part V
  21. DrawBot – The Silver Lining of Failure
  22. DrawBot – The Delivery, Part VI
  23. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part V
  24. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VI
  25. DrawBot – Printed Parts
  26. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VII
  27. DrawBot – The Operation, Part I
  28. DrawBot – The Assembly, Part VIII
  29. DrawBot – The Breakdown, Part II
  30. DrawBot – Printing!
  31. DrawBot – Printing, Part II
  32. DrawBot – Why are you crying?
  33. DrawBot – Calibration
  34. DrawBot – Pen Selection
  35. DrawBot – How to Recover from a Stalled Print!
  36. DrawBot – Drawing Success(ish)!!!
  37. DrawBot – Pen Selection, Part II
  38. DrawBot – Onwards and Upwards!
  39. DrawBot – Another Successful(ish) Drawing!, and an Update
  40. Restarting a Stalled DrawBot Drawing
  41. TSP FTW!
  42. Speedier DrawBot Drawings
  43. Two new DrawBot links! And an update!
  44. Excellent DrawBot Slides
  45. Another Drawing Robot!!!
  46. DrawBot Practice Tip: A Watched Pot
  47. Why do DrawBots draw on walls?
  48. Maze Code + Polargraph?
  49. Ideas for improving my DrawBot
  50. DrawBot Aesthetic Re-Design Ideas
  51. The Eagle Has Landed
  52. Every Body Needs a Skull
  53. This project is not going to overengineer itself
  54. Overengineered Spools
  55. Overengineered Stepper Motor Mounts, Filament Guides
  56. Overengineered Bolt Endcaps, Case Holder
  57. Sourcing DrawBot Parts
  58. DrawBot - A Tour!
  59. DrawBot - A Preview
  60. Arduino Powered Drawing Robot Poll
  61. Building an Arduino Drawing Robot - On The Cheap
  62. DrawBot - Printed Parts Tour
  63. Unidentified Foam Object
  64. Arduino Powered Drawing Robot - Take 2 (Or 3)
  65. DrawBot, now ACTUALLY wall mounted!
  66. A Study of Drawing Robot Pen Holders and Design Considerations
  67. Drawing Robot Pen Holders, Calligraphy Pens, and Thought Experiments
  68. Ideal Qualities in a Drawing Robot Pen Holder
  69. Enough talk! Finally a pen holder!
  70. DrawBot Pen Holder Post Mortem
  71. To Maker Faire!!!
  72. Drawing Robot Penmanship
  73. PlotterBot at Maker Faire Bay Area 2013!
  74. PlotterBot.com - a new site dedicated to drawing robots
  1. Doctor, she’s been acting listless… []
  2. … and unresponsive… []
  3. …and has a fever!  What should I do?! []
  4. VERY nearly almost called this the Cure and linked to a YouTube video.  It’s really just too damn early in the morning for me to write such a thing or you to read such a thing.  As much as I like the Cure, they’re not morning music, you know? []
  5. Like the Smiths []