filament updates: some new wiring, a new code plan, a TFT screen, and more wires [updates]
Okay so here's what we did, when I went poking around the basement I found much better plan for making this device work than simply plugging an arduino into a computer and running firmata and writing the code in python.
I found a 2.2" color-touch, Arduino TFT screen!
It's small, but it's just what we need to create a full-interface for the platform! So the new idea is we get the arduino working but with the color TFT and not with the rest of the shenanigans of PYFirmata and what not. So I can actually try out this screen today but not before I tell you about our terrible wiring job!
Here it is:
Yea so there's a breadboard and some other things. The truth is it isn't pretty at all and the duct-tape will very likely not hold so much so I want to rip it off right now. Or cover it or something. But it's okay since this is just a prototype we don't need to do much to this wiring except cover it - so I'm going to do that with a piece of wood.
There we go - now I'm less worried about all the wires popping right off the board because of tape issues. For now - we're not going to touch things like the thermistors or the relays - we won't even power the heating coils. What we are going to do, is figure out how to power the motors and the arduino from a 12V source easily. And we're going to test out the TFT.
Okay so here's what we did. We took a large 12V Frc battery, connected it to a 12V regulator and the motor controller. We connected the regulator to the arduino and we turned the switch on. It didn't turn on, I think, because the battery is dis-charged. But once we charge it we really shouldn't have any issues powering the system now. Now I'm going to go charge that battery. The whole system will end up looking like this:
It's not the prettiest thing in the world but it will work for now. Once the system is like functional - then we can work on making a better prototype on the electronics side. For now, let's charge the battery. I think for now - here's the game plan.
(1) charge the battery (1a) test if the LCD works (2) test the low-voltage circuit and make sure everything works (3) connect the motor encoder and fiddle with the PID (4) connect the thermistors and calibrate them (5) write the heating cooling algorithm with the thermistors to control the relays - test without power and with power (6) test all of the extruder - code wise, with the screen as an e-stop (7) write a GUI for the screen (8) if all of that works, we can start by extruding filament and using it on the printer we have, and then documenting this, and then designing a new one, with a better layout and everything.
So I think that's a good plan going forward. And we're going to work on it slowly - not rush into it, check the wiring and etc. This is a simple project but safety is an issue! For now - we have a pretty good prototype going I think.