ShimmibotI believe in motion control as a teaching medium, and I have created or used a number of machines to help get people of all ages interested.

A list of some of the machines:

  • Eggbot – my first machine is now a great teaching tool: a simple two-axis machine to draw on eggs, a two week class I teach to 10-13 year olds.
  • Shimmibot – simpler than eggbot, shimmibot is a single motor connected to a petri dish filled with different colored sand. As the motor quickly oscillates, interesting patterns emerge. I usually teach this one week class to 8-11 year olds.
  • Slope Rider – an exhibit I and the Math Crew built for the Science Museum of Minnesota to demonstrate the concept of slope for their calculus show.
  • Archimedes' Limit – another exhibit I built ofr the calculus show, this time with the Math Crew, to demonstrate the idea of a limit, using a laser and a circular mirror.
  • Dental Mill – an 3-axis mill I salvaged. Originally for creating dental molds, I now use it to mill into foam core when teaching.
  • Geyser Bot – a piece of techno-junk: 8 water valves connected to a pump which I now let students control in my Bits to Bots course.
  • K'nex Plotter – a whimsical plotter I built with my son, Ben, from the popular toy. With its bright colors and shaky pensmanship, it makes a fun demo.
  • HP Plotter – these plotters have been completely replaced by large inkjets, but they are still marvels of engineering. I use them as fun demos during my classes.
  • Candy Bomber – a senior physics project I helped to complete, a very simple robot that traverses a string and drops, well you can guess.