Masking tape is an excellent label since its weak adhesive doesn’t leave visible traces and the names can be traced on the surface however, it can be quite slow. To speed up the procedure, Hackaday.io user michimartini decided to build an automated machine that can write labels in a way that is automatic.
It is basically an instrument for drawing drums, which turns a cylinder around an axis and moves the writing head in and out to draw. On the X axis michi employed a standard NEMA17 stepper motor by a CNC-based shield that is connected to the Arduino Nano. Instead of making a custom horizontal Y axis for the horizontal X from scratch, the machine uses a repurposed linear system taken of an obsolete DVD drive and a limit switch aids in making the toolhead more homing. Additionally, a tiny motor servo holds the writing tool in a way that it can be properly connected to the tape used for masking.
To print the label, the text must be first input into a special program that runs on an old single-board computer called the Odroid-C1 and then transforms the string into G-code paths which the Grbl-based firmware comprehend. Once the user has confirmed all is in order using the 3.2 inch LCD The Nano starts to draw the characters.
For more details about the project, you can read its write-up here.
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