Have made a few upgrades lately to the software toolchain and also what I was using to capture the images. My Canon SX280 is a great camera, but that 30 second exposure just wasn’t cutting the mustard…
Nikon D3300 with unlimited exposure time. Now we’re talking my language!
Software ToolchainAs for the software toolchain, manually coding XY coordinates and plotting them in excel wasn’t particularly efficient either. I tried out quite a lot of different different tools for various purposes including Cura, MatterControl, Slic3r, FreeCAD and other countless other CAD/CAM programs. In the end I’ve settled on:
- Inkscape and the gcodetools plugin for designs
- Universal Gcode Sender (not surprisingly, for sending gcode)
- GRBL (installed on Arduino Uno for controlling steppers and LED)
This is working… okay. The gcode sender is a bit buggy and crashes semi regularly, but gets the job done. Gcodetools for inkscape works fairly well but the documentation for it is absolutely atrocious.
This is fuuuuuun but I still haven’t been able to do the RGB thing which is bumming me out. So far all I can get Inkscape to output is a path, so it’s not going to do the colour thing even if I had an RGB LED. Inkscape gcodetools does have a ‘light graffiti’ option but hell if I can get it to work. Even if I could, in GRBL the spindle on option is just a binary switch so isn’t going to be very helpful either.
A OpenCV image parser and my own GRBL fork to deal with the output come to mind, but I’ve never used OpenCV and my only experience with GRBL so far has been installing the prepackaged version straight onto my Arduino Uno. If I do start down this path it’s going to be a while until my next update on this project!