3 years ago I started participating in the Grow Beyond Earth contest. It’s a collaboration between NASA and the Fairchild Botanical Gardens in Florida. The goal is to create a device that will grow food on the International Space Station. That sounded like fun to me! Year one focused on designing the growing area to take advantage of the 0G environment and fit in a 50cm cube. I was fortunate enough to be a finalist and walked away with some prize money. I was not able to participate in the 2nd year but I am back in for year 3.
This year the focus is on creating a robotic harvesting and planting. If you want to read all about it you can do so at the Make:Projects link below. This has been a fun project and I learned so much.
Ever get excited after seeing an YouTube video? It happens to me all the time. When I was Thomas Sanladerer‘s video on using an MSLA printer to make PCB’s I knew I had to try it. In fact I have worked it into February’s Model Monday project. This month we will be designing an Addressable LED strip control box electronics and all. You might not know that Fusion 360 can do electronics design but after a few classes you’ll be up to speed and ready to design.
I have been looking for an excuse to learn more about the electronics design work space in Fusion 360 and I had a member request it as a project. It’s great to be able to have electronics parts and cad design all in the same software. This is going to be a fun one with lots of new things to learn for all of us. Join us Mondays @7pm live or watch the recordings on YouTube at your convenience.
My first project was an attempt to learn some programming, some 3D printing, some sensor design, and combine them with a longtime hobby of growing carnivorous plants.
A Raspberry Pi 3B+ is the main control device.
1) It controls turning the lights on and off to match sunrise and sunset anywhere. Mine is set up to match the photo-period of their natural habitat.
2) It monitors the temperature and humidity and displays them on a remote dashboard that can manually override the automatic control.
3) Water level is controlled with a homebrew designed/built sensor. The sensor’s plastic element was drawn on Fusion-360. It was 3D printed at Milwaukee Makerspace. Water level status is also displayed on the dashboard and can be remotely run.
4) Coding is done with Node-Red, a graphical programming tool.
The actual terrarium is an uncovered 10 gallon tank. It has two species of Drosera ( Sundews, a sticky leafed plant) and a Cephalotus. (Albany Pitcher Plant) Lighting is provide by a small LED fixture. Humidity and Temperature monitored with a DHT22 sensor. Water level measured with a CMOS Schmitt Trigger voltage division sensor. Remote viewing and control is done with VNC.
Real world progress is coming along. Code has been finished (until I get a better idea and redo it again) and checked. Temp/Humidity sensor is in place. Right now it’s only monitoring and displaying. Adding a heater and cooling fan is in the future plans. 3D printed sensor has been fabbed. Assembly, electronic circuit building, and testing will be the next phase I approach. Following that will be the addition of a water pump or solenoid to automatically replenish the water level when it drops.
TLDR version: Raspberry Pi monitors or controls a CP Terrarium’s lights, temperature, humidity, and water.
Harvey got a new power supply for the CNC Mogul from Automation Technology Inc and asked me if I could help him document the replacement process. It was pretty simple and went very smooth. We’re lucky to have Harvey around as a member, and I’m glad he takes care of the CNC Mogul.
Check out the video below to see Harvey replacing the dead power supply with the new 36 volt 9.7 amp model he got from Automation Technology Inc.