Monthly Archives: May 2017

SIRIUS WAVE: The Binary Multi-sensory Interactive Light Product

Please welcome SIRIUS WAVE, the latest in the SENSE-I-ca multi-sensory interactive products.

Sirius Wave:The Binary Multi-sensory Interactive Light Product

Following on the heels of AURORA WAVE, and CORONA WAVE, SIRIUS WAVE is a touch-activated light machine that creates a wide range of beautifully colourful animated and soothing light patterns that appear to emanate from its core.

So why the name SIRIUS WAVE?

Well SIRIUS, which means “glowing” or “scorching” in ancient Egyptian, is the brightest star system in the night sky and while it appears as a single star, it is in fact a binary star system, consisting of a white star, Sirius A, and a faint white dwarf, Sirius B.  The WAVE part of its name comes from the non-contact “touch” system used to control its animations.

Apropos, don’t you think?

Sirius Wave:showing a wave mode that sweeps colour patterns across the displays under the control of the user

Like its siblings, SIRIUS WAVE encourages the user to touch and control the brightly glowing animated light patterns. However, SIRIUS WAVE is unique in that it offers completely independent control of the right and left sides, allowing users to create even more vibrant and vivid colour patterns with both hands. The two independent controls can be simply exercised by a single user or, for instance, in combination with a caregiver to facilitate hand-eye coordination and control exercises.

Sirius Wave:showing one of the dot pattern modes where the colour palette of each side are independently controlled by the user

Made out of soft white plastic that warms to the touch, the light patterns pulse, beat and swirl slowly around the unit to creating enthralling and relaxing aurora light shows. A total of 10 different patterns can be selected and controlled by the user.

The SIRIUS WAVE is 6″ x 11″, fits comfortably in a lap, or table top, and consists of 184 brightly coloured LED lights arranged as two sets of concentric rings to create a visually stimulating display.

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A new 48V 500W Brushless Spindle: CNC Porn

So, finally I added my new 48V 500W brushless spindle to my CNC machine… And what a difference!

New 500W 48V Spindle: now mounted to the CNC machine

So, what’s the news?

Well, The 24V 350W brushed spindle that came with my CNC machine has been well used but recently announced that it needed upgrading. Bearing noise and increased run-out suggested that the spindle was on its last legs. So, for about $170 CDN I bought a 500W 48V DC brushless 3-phase spindle from eBay, and for another $85 CDN, a separate 48V 1000W power supply,

While I had tested them upon arrival, I took the time today to install them properly onto the CNC machine.

The spindle came with a heavy-duty aluminium mounting bracket and a motor speed controller. The bracket had to be drilled out to match the existing Z-axis mounting bolts and the 3-phase cables chased through the flexible cable trough. I designed a simple temporary extension to my existing jog box to mount the speed controller and kill switch. Et voila!

500W48VSpindle

Wow… What an improvement!

Tons of power, <0.005m run-out and oh, did I mention… It’s quiet!

“Dimmer Not Dumber IV” – the fader continues

The “Dimmer Not Dumber” fader saga has not closed. In the spirit of invention being the mother of invention, introducing “Dimmer Not Dumber IV“, for a customer who wants to control slide dimmers.

Here the “Dimmer Not Dumber IV” is going through its “homing” sequence. The stutter near the top allows the dimmer to travel beyond the proximity detection to reach maximum brightness.   Once homed, the dimmers drop to the OFF “rest” state. The dimmers are programmed to move through a specific light sequence when triggered by the external control signals.

Dimmer Not Dumber IV: with pair of electrical light slide dimmers and control unit

Where the original Dimmer Not Dumber II” design used servo-motor to control a residential rotary dimmer, the new design (and its failed predecessor, “Dimmer Not Dumber III“) uses a stepper motor to control a slide dimmer.

Talk about a hammer to crack a nut. This design uses a NEMA17 stepper coupled to a 1/4” 20 screw upon which a slide assembly that captures a corresponding nut rides. The end-stop, necessary to establish a “home” position for the steppers, uses an inductive proximity detector that is activated by the presence of a machine screw embedded in the slide assembly.

Dimmer No Dumber IV: showing fader base, motor mount, proximity mount, and slide assembly.

The pieces are cut from 12mmm and 6mm HDPE and connected using M3 machine screws. The whole assembly screws to the slide dimmer using the normal fascia mount.

Dimmer No Dumber IV: closeup of the 2-part slider assembly that captures the nut that rides on the screw. The countersink-head machine screw on the left triggers the inductive proximity detector at a distance of ~ 5mm.

The control software consists of an Arduino Nano and a pair of DRV8825 stepper motor drivers. The electronics, steppers and proximity detectors are powered through a 12v connection, and 24v control signals are conditioned to lower voltages for the Nano. Screw terminals are used to make the electrical connections for power, control signals (reset and trigger) and each detector.  The entire electronics assembly is housed in a small enclosure created with from a 12mm HDPE base and 6mm HDPE top plate.

Neater, huh!