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Gocupi includes hardware and software that allow your Raspberry Pi to be a polargraph of epic proportions.
Gocupi includes hardware and software that allow your Raspberry Pi to be a polargraph of epic proportions.
88 backers pledged $10,704 to help bring this project to life.

About

Gocupi turns your Raspberry Pi into a portable polargraph. project video thumbnail
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$10,704

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Special Thanks!!!

The gocupi project and source code were created by Brandon Green, the hardware was developed by Brandon Dunson. Both Green and Dunson are members of the Dallas Makerspace (dallasmakerspace.org). Without the community and resources of the Dallas Makerspace the gocupi project would not be what it is today.

The guys at Eagle Circuits for being so helpful through this process. They made it a point to speak with us, confirm our projects needs, and optimize our order every chance they could.

Of course PolyPrinter, the boys over at PolyPrinter know their business when it comes to 3D printers. They not only make a great printer, but the customer support is definitely a 5/5! We couldn't have done it without them, thanks guys.

Tanner Electronics supplied most of the prototyping components but more importantly they are always willing to share their experience and knowledge with their customers. Thanks for all your help Jimmy and Jim Tanner!

gocupi?

Do you have a need to robotically draw images on any vertical surface using a robot? Don't want to be limited by having to send gcode or commands to a tiny microcontroller that limits what you can draw? Then gocupi is exactly what you have been looking for!

Using the processing power of a Raspberry Pi along with a custom designed backpack board that contains the necessary components to control two stepper motors (and optionally a pen up servo on the upgraded model) you can easily draw almost anything on any surface a pen can write on. Our suction cup based motor mounts allow you to deploy the system anywhere in a matter of minutes and start drawing immediately. Anything from whiteboards, windows, walls, billboards, to posters becomes your canvas.

A stretch goal has been added for $4,000

See UPDATE #3 for details.


Dragon Innovation has done a lightweight review of our project and has pre-qualified that we appear to be educated team with a buildable product.
Dragon Innovation has done a lightweight review of our project and has pre-qualified that we appear to be educated team with a buildable product.


The base board

gocupi base board - unassembled - included @ $50
gocupi base board - unassembled - included @ $50

The goal of the base board was to make it as cheap as possible for the end user, to do that we used through hole components and left all the assembly up to you. The two surface mount chips will be soldered in place for you but the rest is your responsibility. You will also need to wire the stepper motors to the base board on your own, there are male header pins included with the board, assuming you would use a 4 pin "dupont" connector on the stepper wire leads.

gocupi base board - assembled -
gocupi base board - assembled -

The base board has the ability draw just as well as the upgraded board, it lacks the servo header and extra breakouts (unused ATMega328p pins) that are included on the upgraded PCB and the switching power supply. That means you will need to plug the Pi in as you normally would using the micro USB connector and connect the included +12v power supply to the base boards 2.1mm barrel jack.

gocupi base board - assembled - sexy angle
gocupi base board - assembled - sexy angle


the gocupi main board

gocupi main board - included @ $100, $250
gocupi main board - included @ $100, $250

The main board is outfitted with surface mount components, a switching power supply that allows you to power the Pi via the gocupi using the included +12V DC power supply. This means no more plugging in a micro USB cable to power the Pi. It also has an ON/OFF toggle switch that will disconnect power to the gocupi main board as well as power to the Pi. All unused pins from the ATMega328P are broken out for your tinkering needs. The signals from the board to the stepper motors are carried over RJ45 (standard Ethernet cable) which uses only 4 of the 8 conductors, the other 4 are +3.3V, ground, and the last 2 are intended to be used as calibration sensors in future upgrades and have 10K pull-ups on the main board. There is a breakout for the servo, should you decide to mount one on the gondola. A breakout for an NRF24L01+ module is on the board for a future upgrade of wireless communication to the gondola eliminating the tethered servo wire.

gocupi main board - sexy angle
gocupi main board - sexy angle

There is a plastic guard under the RJ45 connectors to prevent through hole leads on the bottom of the board from shorting to the Pi's USB and RJ45 shields.


the abbreviated gocupi kit

The abbreviated kit comes with:

  • gocupi main board
  • (2) motor connector boards
  • +12V power supply
  • (2) 12V 1.8 degree stepper motors
  • 3D printed motor mounts and gondola
  • (2) Ethernet cables


the lazy man's gocupi kit

The lazy man's kit comes with:

  • Raspberry Pi
  • gocupi main board
  • 8GB SD card (with raspbian image flashed and gocupi software installed)
  • (2) motor connector boards
  • +12V power supply
  • (2) 12V 1.8 degree stepper motors
  • 1 micro servo motor
  • 3D printed motor mounts and gondola
  • (2) Ethernet cables
gocupi kit (some included parts not shown here) - included @ $250
gocupi kit (some included parts not shown here) - included @ $250
gocupi green - included @ $25
gocupi green - included @ $25

Gocupi uses the Raspberry Pi to run the go source code which does all the computation and sends data to an Atmel ATMega328p which then sends step and direction signals to two Allegro A3967's, one to drive each of the stepper motors. If those part numbers seem familiar to you... you may remember them from such devices as the "Arduino Uno" and the "EasyDriver Motor Controller" which were part of the original design. The Uno and EasyDriver boards were stripped of unneeded components and reconfigured to fit on top of the Raspberry Pi via the GPIO header. The original design required a solderless breadboard to connect all the hardware together which was difficult to assemble not to mention transport. Another common component was an ATX power supply which provided +5v for the Pi and +12v for the motors. The goal of the gocupi  hardware was to eliminate the prototyped circuits and reduce the number of components that the end user had to carry around. We have met these original goals and are moving on to some exciting new features, some of which are already a part of the gocupi project, some are still being tested and the rest are still a twinkle in our eye. We have been working with a hand full of beta testers that have helped us a great deal with developing a system that is easier for the beginner to use and also suggesting some features that we had not considered...stay tuned to the stretch goals to find out more about the upgrades. We need your help to accomplish the rest of our goals for the project, and maybe even incorporate some ideas of your own!

Risks and challenges

A production run is what we would consider a risk and a challenge. Thus far we have gotten away with placing board orders that were at or under the fab house minimum. Scaling up production to an actual 'run' is very exciting but with that comes some anxiety. We will be working with a local board house that has a good reputation and comes highly recommended to us. We are very excited about the gocupi project and are doing everything we can to get the hardware delivered to our backers on or before the date stated in the reward level.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Support us without getting anything in return! This reward level is our favorite. We like to think of this as our dry erase marker fund...which would be much less of a concern if we could remember to re-cap them overnight.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    The infamous gocupi green t-shirt. 50/50 cotton, polyester blend. These shirts are screen printed here in Dallas by a fellow member of the Dallas Makerspace.

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    11 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    gocupi base board + 12v power supply.

    This is a through hole *unassembled* version. The ATMega328p will be flashed with the firmware and the surface mount components will be soldered for you. The rest of the soldering is in your hands.

    This version does not have a breakout for a servo or any unused pins for you to use. It's cheap, compact and yours to assemble.

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    gocupi main board + 12V PSU. This board is completely assembled and ready to be used with your stepper motors and Raspberry Pi. It has all the unused pins of the ATMega328P broken out for you to use.

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  5. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    ---abbreviated gocupi kit--- gocupi main board + 12V Power Supply + Accoutrements! This level includes the gocupi main board which uses surface mount components and includes: all unused pins broken out for your tinkering, and an NRF24L01+ header to do with what you will (or wait for the wireless gondola upgrade in the near future). Also included are 2 stepper motors with suction cup mounts to use on marker board or glass. 1 gondola to...well...hold the marker. See main article for all included items.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    ---lazy man's gocupi kit--- gocupi main board + 12V Power Supply + Accoutrements + Pen Up (servo) + Raspberry Pi! This is a plug and play, ready to draw package for those that truly can't be bothered to gather even the shortest list of components. This is fully assembled and tested, we will take time out of our precious day and go buy you a Raspberry Pi. We will also flash an SD card for you, cause evidently that's too much for you to bother with....You know what while we're at it we may as well include the Ethernet cables to connect to the motors and the braided line to attach the gondola to the motors. There are quite a few bits that are included in this package but clearly you aren't interested in the setup so we'll just put them in the box and save the explanation for someone else.

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Funding period

- (30 days)