come for the SNES sprite art, stay for The Baby Agitator
July 24, 2020 9:47 AM   Subscribe

An engineer, in fine engineer fashion, decides to save time making perler bead sprite art by hand by spending nine months iterating on a modified perler bead 3D printer.
posted by cortex (25 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
 
CAUTION: there are no, repeat NO baby alligators in this vid....

...never mind.
posted by acroyear at 10:04 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


maybe this is the Sistine Chapel of our age?
posted by scruss at 10:13 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Dude could make a fortune at craft fairs that's for sure
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:15 AM on July 24


Yeah, hit the cons when they're back with this baby. I wonder how long it would take for it to pay for itself + materials.
posted by GoblinHoney at 10:17 AM on July 24


Hopefully it would be before the C&D from Nintendo arrives.
posted by zixyer at 10:19 AM on July 24


That's really amazing! It's made me curious if there is a simpler way to implement such a thing, but that's definitely really cool.

I like the idea of 3d printing with voxels in general, it seems like it could massively speed things up.
posted by Kikujiro's Summer at 10:24 AM on July 24


My favourite and most cunning detail of all is the use of a high-temperature heated print-bed for doing the melt-fuse after the beads are all laid out. Very much a fusing (yespun) of the technology of a heated bed which is common in 3d printing with a totally different way of using it - after all the construction is done, heat-and-cool to carefully melt the bottoms of the beads to join them.

Also it looked kinda like a delta-printer-type of motion system to move the "drop bead and nudge in to place" head around the build surface.

Now I really want a metal beading surface with retractable pegs and automated heating. On the occasions I bust my melty-bead stuff (Hama brand because Europe) out, I like doing the placement on to pegboard manually but I would be delighted if the fusing could be automated.

I fear this may be the Jacquard Loom of bead spriting - but the video's been around for a while yet and I'm not aware of the Luddites having come for the creator.
posted by BuxtonTheRed at 10:43 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


That's really amazing! It's made me curious if there is a simpler way to implement such a thing, but that's definitely really cool.

Here's a video of a more refined design, though not quite as ambitious (only 4 colors, no heated bed). It appears that this sleeker version was inspired by the device in the OP, at least going by the dates these videos were uploaded. Will be interesting to see how these printer designs evolve and what develops commercially from this innovation.
posted by soy bean at 10:47 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


But it's a 2D printer...?
posted by The Tensor at 11:18 AM on July 24


From the video description it's technically a 3D printer that just doesn't particularly bother ascending along the vertical axis while operating here, which is sort of an interesting ontological dilemma.
posted by cortex at 11:23 AM on July 24 [9 favorites]


I wish it tucked them together tighter in a hex grid, because hexagons are great and everything should be hexagons always.
posted by aubilenon at 11:23 AM on July 24 [5 favorites]


That machine sounds vaguely similar to The Floppotron video on YouTube
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FH9yt8qTACw
posted by effort_tension at 12:14 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


From the video description it's technically a 3D printer that just doesn't particularly bother ascending along the vertical axis while operating here, which is sort of an interesting ontological dilemma.

Well, since the output isn't produced instantaneously, I propose it's still a 3D printer, just that one of those dimensions is temporal rather than spatial.
posted by FishBike at 1:24 PM on July 24 [7 favorites]


This is very cool. I wonder if you could have an easier time by making a pick-and-place machine that pulled from fixed "palette" grids of each color - you'd need a larger range of motion and a reliable way to pick up a bead and set it down again, but that seems easier than having tons of agitators or getting the "push" process to be reliable.

Even cooler would be a system where you just dumped a mix of colors on to a grid, got all the beads upright (I'm assuming a grid plate here), and the machine used a camera to "sort" the image into the right form.
posted by 0xFCAF at 1:40 PM on July 24


Time well wasted...
posted by jim in austin at 2:20 PM on July 24


I wonder if you could have an easier time by making a pick-and-place machine that pulled from fixed "palette" grids of each color - you'd need a larger range of motion and a reliable way to pick up a bead and set it down again, but that seems easier than having tons of agitators or getting the "push" process to be reliable.

Yeah I think if you were a serious industrial engineer that a pick-and-place system would probably be faster but there would still have to be some sort of bead dispenser system as orienting the bead correctly in the grasper is no small task. I think the agitators would be inevitable for bulk loaded beads unless you can get beads prepackaged in a tube or something.

But I am in awe of how people can follow through on ideas like this. Dedication.
posted by GuyZero at 2:53 PM on July 24


this is the latest feature installation in the Museum of Shit That Is Pointless And Time Consuming Yet So Fascinating And Absorbing
posted by not_on_display at 3:08 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


While I am well acquainted with "why not?" or "it was an interesting challenge" as the entire reason for projects like this, I still can't help but feel like this is making me ask "okay, now what - what's your giant perler bead project that makes it worth tinkering with this thing for nine months"?
posted by egypturnash at 4:53 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


I salute this person for overthinking a plate a beads!
posted by srboisvert at 5:31 PM on July 24 [7 favorites]


Wow, this is super dope. Not just the machine and the clever little touches (which are excellent) but also the video itself. DIY show and tell engi vids are my jam, but they can often be a bit long / tedious. 2.5 minutes was the perfect into and summary length.
posted by lazaruslong at 5:59 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Amazing.

I fear this may be the Jacquard Loom of bead spriting

Well they both run on binary ...
posted by carter at 6:40 PM on July 24


Cool post! Also, I am amused by how FLDSMDFR this machine looks.
posted by Jpfed at 9:30 PM on July 24


Do not agitate the baby!
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 1:09 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


That machine sounds vaguely similar to The Floppotron

That's the glorious music of the stepper motor. The cube-like thing at 50" is a stepper. The stepper in a floppy is quite a lot smaller. They work by accepting a series of carefully-timed pulses that makes them "step" a small amount, with 200 steps/rotation being common. Change the frequency of the pulses, you get a different note.

The project looks like a mostly hacked-apart Delta printer. That's quite a beefy heatbed to get Perler beads to fuse. I can get up to about 110 °C on a 3d printer with a good 24 V heatbed. That's probably not warm enough.
posted by scruss at 9:52 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]


My son really enjoyed this. He has had a lot of fun during COVID times hand-creating Minecraft themed pixel art using a pegboard, which has led to Much Ironing from me, because he doesn’t want to handle the iron himself and the bin of beads we got from Ikea is apparently infinite? He’s pulled so many beads out and yet it seems not to have made a dent in the contents....
posted by caution live frogs at 11:07 AM on July 25


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