BeagleBone Black

PCB Progress

We have had a very busy month placing all the components on our first round of PCBs for our BeagleBone Black cape.  As expected, we ran into a number of issues and bugs on the first round but so far nothing that we haven't been able to address.  We are getting close to sending out the next rev of boards to be made which should have the functionality to continue our machine testing.  

Here's a snapshot of one of our fully assembled Beta 2.0s:

PocketNC_Beta2_5Axis_CNC_Mill

We also had the opportunity to travel to NYC to participate in the Blackstone LaunchPad Demo Day along with 20 other ventures from universities around the nation.  We had the opportunity to have a cocktail hour on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange and get our picture taken with the opening bell (see below).  We learned a lot over the couple days we were there and were excited to get back home to keep moving on Pocket NC.

Green Beta 2.0 and Purple BBB Capes

Quick update to let you all know how we are doing with our Beta 2.0's.  We got them back from anodize and were pretty happy with the results.  This is our first run with a shop here in Montana so that is always nerve wracking, but they did a great job so that was a relief.

PocketNC_Beta2_Desktop_5Axis_CNC_Mill

Bannor finished the design of our cape and we had the boards made.  The guys over at OSH Park did a great job of doing a rush set for us so that we can keep the ball rolling.  This week our purple boards came, and we have been working hard to get them populated with our components.  Like any prototyping process, we already know of some changes that need to be made to the boards but we are really happy to be making progress.

Also wanted to update you all on the timing of our Kickstarter campaign.  Once we get the boards up and running, we will need to run some good tests on the machines before launching the campaign.  If everything goes as planned, it is looking like December would probably be the earliest launch date for the campaign.

Beagle Bone Black and Beta 2.0

A lot has been going on for us in the past couple of months!  We attended the Bay Area Maker Faire in May and had a great time.  We ran demos of a wax ring casting on our new Beagle Bone Black setup for pretty much both days straight.  We had some family join us and our friend Gary came to help us answer questions at the booth.  

We are moving forward with a real prototype of a Beagle Bone Black cape which could enable us to release the machine with encoders on all axes.  We are also doing one final run of updated hardware on the machine, which we are calling Beta 2.0.  Once the boards and the hardware are done, we will do one last round of testing on the machine before launching a Kickstarter campaign(still aiming for fall).  

Another exciting piece of news for us is that we have ordered a Haas mill that will be delivered in July.  This will be the machine we use to produce our Kickstarter orders as well as machine the Beta 2.0.  It will be a huge asset to be able to prototype our work in house.

Below is a picture of the Beagle Bone Black running LinuxCNC that we showed at Maker Faire.  We have been seeing great results testing our machine with this setup and we are really excited about all of the opportunities it allows for us to increase our functionality and usability.   Big thanks to Duane who has put in many hours to help us get rolling on it!

PocketNC_Beta_Desktop_5Axis_CNC_Mill2



Testing Update

Our last couple months have been spent inching towards the capability of physical testing on our machine.  We are finally to the point of being able to successfully run some complete tool paths(sometimes for hours on end) which is pretty exciting because the build up to this has been hundreds of 10 second runs before having to stop to address bugs.

That being said,  you can see in the video above that we still have a ways to go in refining the 5 axis motion control with our TinyG2 boards.  We are happy to be on our way, and in our down time of getting software bugs worked out we are looking into an alternative motion control solution that would be based off of a Beagle Bone Black.  We are excited to have multiple motion control solutions in progress in the hopes that at least one will work out and we will be able to get machines out there with a stable solution at our Kickstarter campaign.

The other good news about starting our physical testing is that we are fairly confident our machines will still be running in a month from now(possibly with a Beagle Bone Black too) and we will make the trek to the Maker Faire in San Mateo.  We love meeting other makers and hearing what's going on outside of our corner of the world.  Thanks as always for your interest in our project and for your patience in waiting for it to develop!