XYZ / April 4 Update

On March 31, the team met, and we experimented with the XY plotter.

This is what we discovered:

  • the XY area covered by the XY plotter is sufficient for our purposes. What is more critical is the size of the foam noodle we will be using. The XY plotter is 2 ft the foam noodle is 2ft – already that’s 4 feet radius of movement which exceeds our play area of 6ft by 6ft.
  • we hung the Makeblock Plotter with string by the ceiling and this arrangement insufficient because the weight of the plotter changes as the head moves. We will need to attach it directly on to the metal structure on the ceiling. We will email Rob to canvas for the space.
  • We determined the kind of part we will need to connect the Markblock (using the holes in the metal) to the ceiling’s metal hanging system. Tony will make a suitable block that will ensure a strong attachment.
  • We have determined it is important for the purposes of interaction that the robot have a district rotary and level-changing abilities. We flirted with the idea of just having a rotation because it would be easier, but we felt it would be compromising too much. Also, we would exclude children from the interaction if level changes were not possible. Shieya and I are coming up with ideas for a rotary/level-change system.

XYZ final project idea


For our final, Shreiya, Chengtao and I have decided to build a “dodge stick” game, where the objective of the game is to avoid a slow moving but relentless stick aimed at touching you. The inspiration for this came from the movement practice of Ido Portal, who famously trained UFC fighter Conor McGregor.

The X and Y of contraption will be approx. 6×6 feet in width and length. The part of it that interacts with the player will be a foam noodle that extends down from a cardboard Z that will be moved up and down by a threaded rod inside. For the safety of the player, we will ensure that no metal parts will come into contact with them. As for control, we are envisioning some kind of controller device that a Player 2 can use to guide the stick and try to touch the Player 1 who is inside the game.

See rough sketch below:

Issues to be resolved include:

-the stick portion will need to change levels AS WELL AS rotate. So it will be XYZR (R for rotation, and Z for level change). How will we make a system that allows for rotation and level changes?

-what material will we use for the gantry? None of us have much money — we are not going to shell our hundreds of $$$ for an XYZ final. How do we achieve our ends in an affordable way?


XY plotter

Our group (Tony Cheungtao Chan & I) was assigned to make our XY plotter into an XY gluestick plotter. Most notable was the movement of the whole body of the XY plotter revolving around the stuck gluestick.

The kit we used to make this was the XY-Plotter from Mdraw (now since discontinued from that company). It was great as a first-time exersize to see all its component parts!

Pros of the set up:

-very linear, relatively straightforward to assemble

-smooth XY motion.


-instructions featured multiple online versions that, at times, did not match up with the hardware and was at times confusing. I got the feeling the company didn’t spend the extra 10% of energy to iron out all the details at the end.

-pen is limited in its movement and reliability.

-we had problems with the movement of the plotter that stemmed from a combination of a little warping of the metal bar and un-powering of the stepper motors. I think the conclusion was that the driver is insufficient.