The Green Machine

Introduction: The Green Machine

The Green Machine is a Raspberry Pi powered linear motion machine designed by SlyScience to spray clear florescent safety tubes a specific color for Special FX Lighting, a custom color filter manufacturing company. It took a little over a year of trial and error to get it where it is today. I have done my best to explain the process via video and this description. I have also included a parts list and will be happy to answer any question you may have.

This Project started with an idea from Ben Engel, former president of Southern Utah Makerspace and Jedi Master. He guided the build of my first RepRap 3D printer, and is the one who gave me the idea of automating the tube spraying process. Without Ben, this would not be a reality.

The goal was, from my perspective at the time, a simple one. To create a machine that would spray clear florescent safety tubes with an automated HPLV spray gun. That was one year and one month ago. We had been spraying clear tubes by hand for 10 years. It was tedious, if you got the HPLV gun to close, or moved it up or down in the slightest, you would ruin a tube. As they are made of plastic, cleaning them is not a cost effective option, so if you coated one incorrectly, it was destroyed.

I purchased a Raspberry Pi 2, Arduino Uno, and GRBL shield. I was instantly out of my element, but as luck would have it I found a free online course on computer science called CS50 presented by Harvard and David J. Malan. ( NAME DROP ) I made it through 3 out of 8 problem sets... Like a BOSS! I purchased a 24VDC Stepper motor and an appropriate power supply then began looking into software that would run the program on the Raspberry Pi ( ). The extruded aluminum slide came from MakerSlide, a Kickstarter based company that manufactures parts for DIY CNC machines. My lead engineer, James Lee, designed the metal frame, did all the welding and assembly of The Green Machine. I headed up the software development, i.e. shorting out power supplies, frying circuit boards, you know the drill.

With James by my side, Special FX Lighting providing the space, and Southern Utah Makerspace helping me trouble shoot, I had enough support to finish the project. This was not my creation, this belongs to everyone. My hope is that this project will allow me to give back to the community that has given me so much.

Here is a list of the components that helped make this project possible ( I did my best to create a list that will allow you to create a linear motion machine, I realize this list might not contain each and every part of The Green Machine. If you need specific details please let me know and I will do my best to hook you up: or Email Me )

Monster 7 output Surge Protector $19.99

Heat Shrink Tube Kit $15.99

Wireless Keyboard and mouse combo $29.99

Zip ties and misc fasteners $13.81

Monitor with HDMI output $53.18 ( I know right? )

3 way 2 position 24VDC 1/4 input pneumatic solenoid $54.95

10 AMP 1000V Axial Diode ( Pack of 30, just needed one but you know how it goes ) $17.53

24V 6.3A Mean Well LED Power Supply $60.00

Automated HPLV gun ( approximately $800.00 ).

10 Meter GT2 timing belt $32.99

1800mm MakerSlide Aluminum Extrusion with V-rail Linear Bearing System and their GRBL Shield. $179.99

Misc electrical wiring, solder, all the misc nuts and bolts, etc. Approximate price $80.00

Raspberry Pi 2 ( the good old days ) $39.99

Arduino Uno $24.95

Junwen 24VDC Nema 23 stepper motor $19.99 ( If you are looking for a powerful stepper motor get this one! )

4x1-1/2 V-Groove Wheel (eleven count) $188.92

1-1/2 x 1-1/2 .065 Square Tube (40 feet) $38.78

1 x 2 .068 Rectangular Tube (40 feet) $38.78

3/4 x 3/4 x 1/8 x 20 foot Angle Iron $35.38

1/4 x 6 x 20 foot Hot Roll Flat $64.21

Total approximately $1,800.00 ( If you have ??? talk to me, I want to hear from you ).

I cannot thank enough people but I have to name a few that were not mentioned: Beth Lock, my mother, the hardest working woman I know and President of Special FX Lighting, Wil DuCrest, my brother and motivational enthusiasts. Everyone at Southern Utah Makerspace, Kyle Lallis and the FX Powder coating team. Charlotte West, the love of my life. Adam Milton-Barker, David Horne, Andrew Cunningham, Alex Chamberlain, Eric Chamberlain, and Paul Olof. Thank you all.

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    2 Discussions

    DIY Hacks and How Tos

    Nice setup. I think that this is the first time that I have seen a Raspberry Pi used in an industrial application. Well done.

    John DuCrest
    John DuCrest

    Reply 4 years ago

    Thank you Jason.