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Jamiroquai Automaton hat
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maddox



Joined: 21 Dec 2006
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Magneto's helmet....

But you can smooth it out with an anglegrinder and a small grit flap disk.

Wearing that foam helmet, you're going to be sweaty....

Maybe provide some cooling.
Flap the wings fast enough?

Post Sun Feb 05, 2017 8:20 pm 
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Nick
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Ha ha, that gives me a mental image of a Red Bull commercial! I will get the hat flapping fast enough to take off if I can.

Its certainly looks like Magneto's helmet, that is just the generic pattern I downloaded to get started. The finished product will have all the cheek area and most of the side cut away - it could still be hot though. The foam has a cross-hatch pattern on it and it is REALLY scratchy on my ears; I couldn't wear it long in the current shape.
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Post Sun Feb 05, 2017 8:28 pm 
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Valen
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I wonder if you get the shape right if fibreglass would be a good base material for your moving parts?

heh, wrap your head in gladwrap then glass over it, perfect fit ;->
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Post Mon Feb 06, 2017 7:44 am 
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Nick
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Fibreglass, or at least epoxy is definitely on the cards. Quite a few prop makers paint their foam parts in runny epoxy or urethane meant for rotocasting and the results look very professional. Thicker epoxy could solve a different problem; I printed some paper hexagon shapes to test for size and realized that flat parts don't really fit on a curved surface Rolling Eyes.

To fix that, the 3D printed parts can have a recessed back with a lip around the edge and I fill the recess with Bondo or epoxy putty before placing it on hat.
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Post Mon Feb 06, 2017 8:21 am 
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Nick
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Electronics:

The Neopixel LEDs and controller have arrived, this is how they fit in the printed parts:



Wiring the test parts and learning to program them will keep me quiet for quite a while - the controller uses the Processing language, which is supposed to be easy to learn - I may prove the experts wrong on that Smile.

There is another complication that the original prop builder partly skipped over. Its impossible to fit identical polygons onto an irregular curved surface like a head. On the original hat, there are several differently shaped hexagons and large gaps between them so its not obvious they don't fit together precisely.

I want the parts to fit more closely and that means a custom shape for almost every part. To make it a bit simpler, the parts with servos will all be the same and after they are positioned, the rest of the parts will be fitted around them.

I had a bit of a crazy idea after watching Angus's Meshmixer tutorial: https://youtu.be/8IwJDfT-H6o If the hat's foam shell was digitised, I could 'de-res' the polygons and use the results as a template or even print it life-sized.
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Post Wed Feb 08, 2017 2:18 pm 
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nickfiji



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Cant wait to see the next steps!! Keep up the good work Nick!! Can I be the first to offer to buy this when its done? Laughing

Post Fri Feb 10, 2017 1:22 pm 
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Nick
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Perhaps I will build a few extras, I am cooking up some extended ideas for this with my artist sister. It wouldn't be cheap though; there is $220 worth of LED modules in it, plus not one but two micro controllers. Then there are $70 worth of servos and all the other small parts. Once I have things working, I will make it open source so people can duplicate the hat or at least grab some ideas for their own version.

The learning curve for the electronics keeps getting steeper - I might as well be taking a stroll up Everest! Not reading the fine print on the Fadecandy LED controller was my first mistake. Its programmed with the Processing language, which is relatively easy to learn and supposedly takes the difficulty out of controlling the WS2811 LEDs. The new issue is that the Fadecandy needs a much smarter computer to actually run Processing and then send commands to the Fadecandy via USB:



I can get started using a PC and for the finished hat I will need to use a Raspberry Pi, preferably the new Pi Zero for it's smaller size. The good news with using a pair of controllers is that the Fadecandy has almost twice the LED capacity needed, so it could control extra LEDs; maybe a lit-up LED shirt. The Pi can handle all the servos and provide an interface to change lighting patterns.
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Post Fri Feb 10, 2017 2:15 pm 
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chunkulator



Joined: 27 Jul 2016
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Having done it once before I can report that getting Pis to drive servos is a somewhat fraught process. There are only 2 or 3 pins on the output header that have hardware PWM behind them and there's no official kernel mode device driver for them built into Raspian. You have to roll your own. There is a pololu servo driver which connects to it by USB or serial or something and allows you to drive about 8 servos, so you might want to look at that option.

Post Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:01 pm 
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Nick
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Thanks, I would have been banging my head against that problem for days if not weeks! So that's three CPUs to do the job - substantially more computing power than it took to get Apollo missions to the moon Rolling Eyes
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Post Fri Feb 10, 2017 3:29 pm 
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Nick
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There are two possible Pololu server controllers; they both do serial comms and the smarter one has USB and stored sequences.

https://www.pololu.com/product/207



https://www.pololu.com/product/1350



Either one is over specified to do the job so I will check out the documentation and pick the one that is easier to use.

The original hat has only one channel of servo control; you can only see the blades moving in sync. The plan on my version is to have five channels to extra effects arranged like this:


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Post Fri Feb 10, 2017 4:30 pm 
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Knightrous
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Joined: 15 Jun 2004
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A single Teensy 3.5 will probably be all you need for this whole project.
https://www.pjrc.com/store/teensy35.html

If I've read correctly, you can drove 36 or so servo's from one. There is a Servo library for regular i/o pins and a PWMServo library for PWM specific pins which allows a lot of pins to be used.

There is also a WS2811 library that advises that a Teensy 3.1 can handle 4000 WS2811 LEDs.
https://www.pjrc.com/teensy/td_libs_OctoWS2811.html

They have even made a low res tv as an example.


A Teensy 3.5 is US$25 and easily programmed with Teensyduino (uses Arduino IDE)
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Post Fri Feb 10, 2017 7:32 pm 
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chunkulator



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Teensy is an awesome platform for this sort of thing. It will take you about 20s to set up a teensy to drive a servo.

Post Sat Feb 11, 2017 6:46 am 
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Nick
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The Fadecandy board is a clone of the Teensy 3 point something, with added drivers for long lines of LEDs. There is even a mention of porting the Fadecandy firmware to Teensy boards. The real difference between them is the specialised functions built into the Fadecandy firmware. It incorporates dithering and colour correction to simulate more colours than you can get with the 8 bits per pixel that the WS2811 uses.

The main reason I like the Fadecandy is the high level programming languages that are available; they take out a lot of complexity. Its a bit of a pain they only run on a Raspberry Pi but I would have had to use a second board to run the servos and provide the UI anyway.
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Post Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:24 am 
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Valen
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we used one of these on the autonomous boat
https://www.adafruit.com/product/815

16 channels running off the pi over I2C, the adafruit library makes driving it from python pretty easy.

You could control each one individually then
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Post Sat Feb 11, 2017 10:27 am 
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Nick
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Thanks, that could be a better alternative than the serial Pololu servo boards, time for more documentation reading.
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Post Sat Feb 11, 2017 12:25 pm 
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