Piccolo Assembly Instructions

Tiago Rorke edited this page Apr 27, 2016 · 19 revisions

Piccolo v1.1 Assembly

Piccolo v1 Parts

Before You Begin

Assemble the PCB first - If your PCB is still naked, we recommend assembling it before you start putting your Piccolo together. Once the PCB is ready, assembling the rest of the Piccolo takes about 2 hours.

Remove any protective plastic/paper coating - It is likely that your acrylic sheet will have a layer of protective plastic on it, so make sure you peel it off all the parts before you start assembling. The MDF may also have been cut with a protective paper layer on one or both sides, so make sure you peel this off too.

When to use the paper spacers - In order to get a good fit for its moving parts, Piccolo uses paper spacers to adjust its tolerances. These are generally needed if the acrylic used is thicker or the same thickness as the MDF, if the Arcylic is thinner then the spacers may not be needed. Take note of where these are in the assembly diagrams and see if the spacers are needed by checking the tightness of any moving parts. If you are not sure, 1 layer of spacers is generally recommended. Multiple layers can be used if need be.

Check how the tooth fits - Part X3 or "the tooth" needs to be able to slide freely in the slot in Y7, which forms the Y-axis rail. Depending on the kerf of the laser and the material thickness, this may be too tight - If it is then you should sand the tooth down on a sanding block until it fits just right. We recommend sanding the tooth instead of the slot to help ensure an even amount of friction along the rail.

Don't over-tighten the screws - Tighten them just enough to stay put. Once you have finished putting Piccolo together and can check how everything is moving, and then go back and tighten (or loosen) the screws as need be.

Draft angle on the laser-cut edges - Laser cutting leaves a slight angle on the edges of the cut, and so it can matter which way up you assemble the parts. Take note of where the diagrams say "labels this side up" - when assembled correctly all the parts should be orientated so that the draft angle on mating edges is flipped. When putting the gears on the servos, you can test how well the teeth fit in order to decide which way up to put the gear.


Step 1

step 1 - Z-stage

  • The holes in Z3 are slightly smaller, and should thread onto the screws, so the nuts can be optional. Depending on the material thickness, the screws also may not extend far enough to attach the nuts.

Step 2

step 2 - Y-stage1

  1. Insert Y8 into the side walls Y4A and Y4B, and put the servo into the slot in Y8.
  2. Insert the servo and side walls into Y1, then put the gear on the servo. The servo key-hole shape should make a tight fit with Y1.
  3. Attach the Z-stage, by rotating the gear fully anti-clockwise, then fitting the Z-stage as shown.
  4. Stack the remaining parts label side up.

  • As in step 1, the holes in Y1 are slightly smaller, so the nuts can be optional again. As before, depending on the material thickness the screws also may not extend far enough for the nuts.

If you do not have part Y8, then you are assembling the previous version of Piccolo (v1). In this case, follow step 2 like this.


Step 3

step 3 - Y-stage2

  • If you are assembling the previous version of Piccolo (v1), then follow step 3 like this.

Step 4

step 4 - X-stage1

  1. Important - put the nut into the t-slot in X6.
  2. Attach the walls, making sure the walls and servos are in the right orientation. Double check this before continuing. Looking from the front (X7), and with the servos pointing down, the servo cables should come out the right side.

Step 5

step 5 - X-stage2

  • The servo key-hole shape should make a tight fit with X1.

Step 6

step 6 - X-stage3

  1. Attach the Y-stage by rotating the gear fully anti-clockwise and lining up the end of the Y-rail with the edge of the slot for X3 ("the tooth"). There is a line etched on Y7 to help do this.
  2. Insert X3 and attach X4, and the X-gear. As before, the servo key-hole shape should make a tight fit.
  3. Ensure that X1, X2 and X4 are tightly stacked, and fasten with the 16mm screw.

Step 7

step 7 - base1

  • Attach the PCB or replacement part to the rest of the base, making sure all labels are facing up. Fasten the shorter 10mm screws with nuts.

Step 8

step 8 - base2

  1. To mount the base, rotate the gear fully anti-clockwise and place at the end of the X-rack as shown.
  2. Attach B5 and B6, fastening with nuts. To avoid over-tightening the screws, slide the X-stage to test the smoothness, and tighten or loosen them as necessary. While you're at it, do the same for the Y and Z axis.

Step 9

step 9 - finish

  1. Carefully clip the pen-holder parts together. Take care to assemble them in the right orientation, as they can be difficult to pull apart without breaking the tabs.
  2. Put a rubber band around the tabs in the sides of the pen-holder.
  3. Clip the pen-holder onto Piccolo's face. Done!

If you already have Arduino installed and can upload to the Pro Micro, you can test Piccolo right away. Upload the usbTether(link tba) example sketch from PiccoloLib, attach a pen, set the draw height using the thumbwheel, and hold down the 'test' button to start drawing some circles!

To start playing with Piccolo, have a look at the Getting Started(link tba) page.

If anything seems wrong with Piccolo, take a look at the Piccolo Help(link tba) page.


Piccolo PCB v0.9 Assembly

This version of the Piccolo PCB works like a simple "shield" for a Sparkfun Pro Micro Arduino-compatible dev-board. It provides servo headers, a simple interface and other useful IOs for Piccolo. pcb components

The easiest way to attach the Pro Micro is to first solder right-angle header pins to it, then solder these to the PCB and clip off the tops. If you use straight headers instead, make sure you do not put the header pin spacers between the boards, as the PCB needs to keep a profile under ~6mm (or 2x the thickness of your MDF parts).

If you have a fine-enough tip on your soldering iron, the Pro Micro can also be directly soldered onto the PCB without using header pins.

mounting the pro micro

After attaching the boards together, clip the tops off the header pins. Using right-angle headers leaves a cleaner look, but if you use straight headers these can be clipped off above the header spacers so long as the total height of the pins is <6mm.

leveling capacitors

The capacitors fit just under 6mm, and so need to be flush and level with the board. To do this, attach the female GPIO header, and then place the capacitors (checking the polarity), holding these down flush underneath the board and folding out the pins to hold them in place for soldering. The rest of the components are straightforward to solder.

finished pcb

The assembled PCB. Violà!


Wiring without the Piccolo PCB

Alternatively to using the Piccolo PCB, a laser-cut replacement part can be used in the assembly (this is included in the Piccolo cutting pattern) and Piccolo can be wired up to an Arduino UNO or similar with a breadboard and a few components.

using laser-cut part in place of pcb

The push buttons are useful but optional, however using the potentiometer is highly recommended as it is very useful for setting the Z-position relative to the tool. The capacitor helps to reduce jitter and should be suitably large (16V, 330uF or bigger).

wiring diagram

Quick Pin Reference

  • X servo PWM signal - pin 3
  • Y servo PWM signal - pin 5
  • Z servo PWM signal - pin 6
  • Potentiometer - pin A3
  • Button 1 - pin 14 (Pro Micro) / pin A0 (Arduino UNO)
  • Button 2 (test) - pin 15 (Pro Micro) / pin A1 (Arduino UNO)

breadboard wired up