3D Printing

3D Printer Parts Find New Life as Air Hockey Playing Robot

If you’re a self-hating pessimist, you might love this air hockey playing robot as it will reinforce your defeatism by beating you every time. If you’re a self-actualizing optimist, you can use this 3D printer hack to train to become the greatest air hockey player in the world.  The choice is yours, young Jedi.

3D Printing air hockey robot

Start with the parts to build a 3D printer, including NEMA17 stepper motors, drivers, an Arduino Mega, RAMPS, belts, bearings, rods, and a few 3D printed components – like the air hockey mallets.  You’ll also need to buy an air hockey table or build one yourself.  If you assemble them in the manner instructed by Jose Julio on his blog, you’ll have an air hockey table fitted with a mallet that can move with the same X and Y planes as the RepRap that inspired Julio’s design.  Now, what you’ll need is vision for your air hockey robot, like a PS3 EYE camera.  Programmed with Julio’s code, derived from “OpenCV libraries for capturing, thresholding, filtering and segmentation”, and given a 3D-printed puck coated in a robo-detectable color, the air hockey playing robot can respond defensively, offensively, or both to your keen air hockey moves.  Watch Julio’s robot below:

He says that the robot can easily beat a child (who couldn’t?), but that experienced adults should be able to tackle the robot.  There are some improvements that the robot’s creator admits could be made, such as a self-calibrating program using the bot’s camera and goal detection.  Though it could be fun to see two robots duke it out, as Julio suggests, it’s also an interesting way to teach kids about physics, math, and engineering, which he also suggests.

3D Printing air hockey robot

Julio explains that, while a bit involved, this project is affordable and definitely doable.  This is coming from a man who built his own air hockey table and programmed his own air hockey playing robot.  The project is beyond my skill level, for the moment, but if you’d like to give it a try, Julio’s got the entire build manual here and all of the files for printing and programming the bot here.

3D Printing air hockey robot

Source: Ciencia y cacharreo