Posted by Jackie Nichols on September 25, 2016 at 9:53 AM

I went into the Maker Kit challenge with virtually no experience in building or in robots, so you can imagine I was a little overwhelmed when I dumped out all the pieces in front of me. Honestly, all the parts looked the same; it was hard to distinguish what pieces were supposed to fit with each other.  But I decided to give it my best, and to my surprise, I actually began to put the printer together without any issues!!!


I’ll admit, I had to use Julia's amazing video tutorial once or twice to figure out how the inkshield, Arduino, and touchscreen all fit together...but for the most part, I was able to figure it out myself.  I screamed a little when I saw the touchscreen light up as I plugged in the USB.  I didn’t actually think I could build it myself, but I guess I should have had a little more faith in my abilities.  

Next, I downloaded the Maker Kit Files and looked over the code.  MAKE SURE AT THIS POINT YOU HAVE SELECTED THE ARDUINO USB PORT UNDER TOOLS.  I forgot to do so myself and couldn’t figure out why the printer wasn’t working for a good 20 minutes.  Finally, I got the bot to print!  I had some trouble getting the hang of sliding the paper without having ink spray all over my fingers, so it took me a few tries.


Okay, maybe more than a few.


But eventually I got the hang of it.


After I printed an “I   U” that I was happy with, I decided to code a new word to print.  If you look at the binary (the 1’s and 0’s) in the code, you may have noticed if you tilt your head sideways, you can make out a character made out of 1’s in the block of 1’s and 0’s.  I pretty much tilted my head and did my best to draw letters out of 1’s.  Note: you can draw the character forwards or backwards depending what way you swipe. In the pictures below, the character is backwards, but you can roughly make out a backwards “P” made of 1’s.   



I originally intended to spell out “Preemadonna” in binary, but that was a little long, so I just spelled out Pree instead.

For those of you who are also going into the code and adding new characters, you might’ve run into an error that looked like this: 

I made this mistake too, don't worry it's an easy fix.  All you have to do is go to the line that says “ const int numOfChar =5 ” and change the 5 to however many characters you want to print (don't forget that spaces are counted as characters too). For example, when I printed “pree”, I used 7 characters (4 letters and 3 spaces).  You can see, looking at the line above, that you can also change the size of the characters using character rows. If you want it the character to come out bigger, increase the number of rows and adjust each character in the binary.



Those of you who have never coded before or don't have much experience coding, don't be afraid to play around with the code. It's really very simple when you get the hang of it.  Have fun!



PS: Email if you have a MakerKit and have questions!

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