FRAGILE at mHub Hebocon 6-17

FRAGILE (pronounced Frah-Gee-lay) is ready for battle at mHub for their Hebocon (crappy robot) battle today! This wind-up robot, with its 4-seconds of forward movement and powerful battering-ram scooper, is part of the Micro-hebocon Passive Agressive Robot series*; fighting machines that strive to be strategically pushed to the side and let powerful competitors storm out of the ring, and thus lose the match.

In a supreme act of crappiness, since I have family in town and can only attend for 2 hours, I will be seeing if I can give the robot away to someone in the crowd who can compete for me.  I do not need the robot back since the cost per robot is only $3 (a wind- motor and 3D printer filament).



*a hybrid with the Fragile Paper Robot series, which is expert at adhering to the ground after moving just far enough to be legal. See also Collapsing Robot series.

Design support for original prototype by CF Devices.



Micro-Hebocon Competition: Advanced Maker Version

The maker version of the Micro-hebocon 4-second robot battle (see original Micro-Hebocon page for more info) begins with each person receiving a metal windup motor and key in advance of the competition.

Downloadable STL files of both a generic chassis that’s pre-measured to “snap into” the motor is available. In addition, downloadable sample battlebot STL files can be 3D printed out as is. However, the path to Micro-hebocon battle bot victory is through 3D software modding and improving upon the design. True to the spirit of hebocon, the pre-made design is slightly crappy.

Competitors show up to the competition with their windup motor battle bots. The original robots spun down in 4-seconds, but better gear design can create an 8-second fighter.

The ring is extremely small and on a warped wood board. The rules of the standard hebocon battle can be adapted to the miniature robots.

Ice Dollhouses

This would be a winter activity in which a series of 1 foot  square and (smaller) molds could be filled with water and frozen. Once all the pieces were popped out, it would be a dollhouse: box for the main room, tables, chairs, simple beds, figurines.  Some hoop structure that could become a chandelier with droplets. Ice spiral staircase.


Micro-Hebocon: Playtest at Mini-Maker Fair 5/6/2017

At the Maker Faire this weekend, at the Pumping Station One area, we’ll have the Micro-Hebocon first public playtest.


More nonsense:

  1. Participants must be 16+
    This is part of my “STEM for adults” series. Children can advise their parent or caregiver, but anything with a glue gun or messing with the tiny (super fragile) wind-up engines … that’s off limits.  It also helps enforce the message that PS1 is not a family makerspace (Hack Studio is)
  2. Every 15 minutes, 2 players (lottery if necessary) will each get a wind-up motor and key. You may also get one that’s enclosed with a 3D printed chassis and a few gears. (below)
  3. Then the 2 opponents take turns picking pieces from the micro-junkyard (see 5)
  4. The STL files are here, so you can print, carve, cut or mod in advance.
  5. There will be a miniature junkyard
  6. The mini-junkyard also has older designs which the participants can use, hack and compete with
  7. You have 15 minutes
  8. The sumo ring is on a warped piece of wood.
  9. The ring will change, as will the rules, as the playtesting session goes on









Questions: Wait, I hate you and your contest. I want to buy those gears and do a better version. One where my kid can participate, you jerk.

Answer: Great. The link is here.

They are the only place on the planet that sells these, as far as I can tell.


Virtual Reality and Video Game Design: Back to Basics in a New World

This lecture-based class explains the very basics of indie game development, particularly as it relates to the Oculus Rift and Vive.

Looking at game development from a art perspective, we will eventually talk about game design, particularly as it relates to artistic creation, The primary focus will be to look at the technologies from the last decade. It pulls these software elements together and utilizes, with some ease, the most popular gaming platforms on the planet.

What is the Oculus Rift? What is the HTC Vive? What is Unity 3D? What is Autodesk Maya or 3D Max, and how do all these tools and programs fit together? How does writing code fit into these software systems? What languages are accepted, what platforms can you “publish” to. What is the Asset store? How are assets created? What about Unreal Engine?

This 1-hour session touches these subjects and nothing more.


Hebocon is a popular Japanese robot sumo-wrestling competition for those who are not technically gifted. It is a competition where crappy robots that can just barely move gather and somehow manage to engage in odd, awkward battles.

UPDATE:  We will be playtesting the robots at the Northside Mini-Maker Faire – Learn about what we’re doing there.

Micro-Hebocon is a spinoff from the Flea Circus project.

The idea came while at a LegoFirst robotics, where I found myself redesigning the competition to be more improvised – simpler robots made (and re-made) in the gym during the competition.

I had seen the YouTube video


Screenshot from Hebocon YouTube Video


So my version is a micro-hebocon, a 4-second wind-up robot battle – who fight in a 9″ inch ring.

clock motor 1


You’d get a motor with the 3d printed gears, then you make ad hoc wheels out of rubberbands and cardboard. You make a chassis out of cardboard and duct tape.


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The sumo ring:

It will be on a warped wood board. More randomness. Of many random warped wooden boards, one is selected. The ring is incredibly small, the radius will be decided base on test battles — ON April 15ish, we’ll do a test battle.



UPDATE:  A new variation/form of this robotics type, called “Fragile Robotics” has entered the fray. And worse yet, they are setting the rules. New limits on weight that make metal parts almost prohibitive.

Update: I’m going to playtest this at the Northside Makerfaire on 5/6




Flea Circus

the flea circus is


  1. a wind-up chariot
  2. a little bicycle that goes on a tightrope (it’s not a functioning bicycle, more like a zipline)
  3. Then it’s the giant parade girl puppet that take 10 people to operate. Except it’s miniature. So it’s a giant miniature marionette that walks down the miniature street.
  4. Then a Faberge egg that opens up and an elephant walks out. This is an actual thing.


Class: Mechanical Bird Project – 3D Modeling and Printing

Mechanical Bird Project – 3D Modeling and Printing

Length: 2-hour class workshop

Prerequisites: None

Provide authorization: No

Audience and learning objective: This class is for people who would like to learn (very) basic 3D modeling (Autodesk Fusion) and make their first print at PS1, by doing a sample project – a mixed media, very simple, automata wind-up toy. It services as a good pre-authorization class to individuals who are totally new to 3D modeling and printing. It assumes no prerequisite knowledge outside of Windows and some software literacy.

Materials: All non-filament materials will be provided – so wire, the plastic cylinder  (cost = approximately 50 cents)

Screenshot for Fusion 360

I printed out my bird successfully enough that it’s proven that the torus-hinges work  (file here – The youtube video shows the mechanics of the bird.  The bird is designed and 3D printed, instead of the elements made with polymer clay in the video below. I will have some polymer clay around in case anyone throws up their hands.

For the cam, I’m doing a “heart cam” mechanism adapted from this book about paper automata (mechanical models)



Flipped classroom: I will provide an online video tutorial of the classroom lesson, so you could feasibly skip that part of the physical class if you did the software lesson at home. It’s also a resource if you need to brush up and review after the class.

Discussion: After an hour, we take a break and have a quick discussion about things people want to make – blue sky ideas. We talk about design, approach, prototyping, fabricating what explore what “CNC” means at PS1. We help hatch little dreams.

End of Class: I demo how I export my Fusion model so it’s ready for the 3D printer. I trim the filament, hit the start button and it starts printing (hopefully) I have a quick demo of how to assemble (which also has an online video) a completed print (based on a print I’ve done before the class – like Julia Child who would put a cake in the oven and take out an identical baked one).

The class concludes by showing the class the google group, and how you request authorization on the 3D printers.

Donations and waived fees: I will teach as a volunteer. I would be interested in approving and testing the following fee structure: the class offers people the opportunity to donate $15 – only if they have the financial resources to throw in comfortably, and only to those who didn’t have to hire a babysitter to participate in the workshop. You can throw in, or not throw in at any time, so it’s pretty hard to tell who donated or not. 100% of donations gets donated for member scholarships.


What Machine Am I?


Cold Metals

It’s filled with beautiful, old, in some cases, steampunk machines. Very dusty, but some is recent dust from the room. The result is that it’s hard to tell if it’s dusty from last week, or no one touching it for 3 years.



Machine #1- Unlabeled Sander

front view


side view






Machine #2  – Johnson Bandsaw – labeled and on Wiki

Johnson Bandsaw –  heavy duty metal-cutting saw. Wiki and tool are fine.











Machine #3 – Rockwell Drill Press FM50 – Unlabeled, cannot find on Wiki






Machine #4 – Aluminum Sheet Cutter. Unlisted, could not find on Wiki

This description comes from the text written in dust.






Machine #5- Clausing Lathe.

No label, but on Wiki —




Machine #6 – Lab Furnace – Name changed to Muffle Box Furnace








Machine #7 – DoALL Drill

Wiki lists it as usable, but notes say unusable.


Machine #8 – Bridgeport – Not sure, not labeled




awesome retro interface



Machine #9 – Sander (underneath box) – unlabeled




Machine #10 – covered



Machine #11 – Craftsman tool. unknow, unlabeled







Machine #12 – unknown, unlabeled



Machine #13 – DoAll Bandsaw




2 others (not in cold metals area)

Machine #14 -Skapeoko

Needs label, listed as not usable