Final Project: Links and Final Thoughts

Below are the links that pertain to this project:


YouTube Video



Final Thoughts:

I am pretty proud that I was able to construct a ‘Rita Shaker’ that was really to close to what i desired. As this is a prototype there are many improvements that can be made to the design. They are as follows:

Electronic Components:

Servo motors with greater torque would be of great use. The ‘Rita Shaker’ struggled when too much was added to the blue shaker.

I would like to incorporate more switches to control the number of shakes a performed.


The addition of casing to conceal the electronic components.

Possible shortening of the arms.

Reinforcement of the attachment between the servo motors and the base.

Overall aesthetic improvement.


Add code to let different speed setting be enabled.

Add code to set a specific amount of shakes.

Add code to return arms to vertical position when complete.

Final Project: Completed Code

I have finally completed the code to run my ‘Rita Shaker’. I took the sweep program provided as an example with the Arduino software and modified it.

I modified it to include a second servo. Initially I ran into some issues because of the manner in which I mounted the servo motors to the base. They are oriented in opposite directions, which resulted them moving in opposite directions when I ran my initial code. I solved this by telling the Rservo to move to a position that equaled 180 degrees minus the position of the Lservo. I also restricted the movement of the arms from 62 degrees to 167 degrees. This helped to prevent the arms from ramming the shaker into the base. I also experimented with increasing the speed of the movement by decreasing the amount of delay between movements. This worked well but when I tested out the ‘Rita Shaker’ while filled, the body of the Lservo cracked slightly. This necessitated reinforcing them by anchoring them with bungee cords.

Frame Complete

I have completed the frame and have hooked up the electronic components.












To get a full description of how the body was constructed check out my post that will be linked to later.

Now it is time to give this a go.

Final Project: Servo Motor Success

Alright, so there has a bit of delay making progress on this project due to numerous circumstances. I purchased some more supplies for the construction of the body from Home Depot and I will address that in a post that concerns my building it. Right now, however, I am excited to say that I finally got the servo motor working. I cut off the connector at the end. Then using heat -shrink tubes I connected each of the individual wires to the jumper wires, so that I could easily plug them into the Arduino. Then I used the sample code ‘Sweep’ found in the servo motor library. This code was successful it moving the servo motor. I may need to look into finding a way to increase the speed of rotation.











I just altered and added some code to the provided sweep function. This allows me to add a second servo motor and have them run in sync.


Final Project: Code (2)

I’ve run into a mental block concerning the exact implementation of the design for the physical construction of the Rita Shaker, so I’ve decided to focus on making sure I can run the servo motors with the arduino board. The arduino program actually has a sample program to control a servo motor in the servo library.



I uploaded the program and nothing happened. This may have something to do with my use of the Arduino Motor Shield R3.

After searching various sites for how to interface a servo motor with the motor shield I am still frustrated. In most of the posts found they talk about interfacing with a stepper motor. If I wanted I could completely abandon the shield and just interface directly with the arduino board. Now that I reread the page that describes the use of the motor shield I am aware that it does not list servo motors as one of the suggested items to run with it. This may be because of their relative simplicity and how easy it is to use them directly with the board.

The sites I looked at can be found here, here, and here.

I am going to consult with some people before I go and cut off the ends of the wiring for the servo motors so I can connect it to pins on the arduino board.


Junior Lab 2: A Retrospective

Over the course of my time at UNM I have taken part in many different types of labs including biology, chemistry, and physics. I can say without a doubt, however, that the last two semesters of Junior physics lab have been unlike any others I have encountered. With past labs there has always been a very strict procedure to be followed and at times this is absolutely necessary. Yet, with the type of experiments and work done in this lab it made for a much more rewarding experience to have the instructions left open ended. It is important to note that I am an individual that usually likes to have very detailed instructions on how everything should work in all aspects of my life. The approach taken in the lab ended up being very empowering and freeing. I gained confidence in creating ideas and taking risks. I also learned to rely on and trust my fellow classmates and to approach the endeavors of our projects in a collaborative manner. With regard to the electronics portion of the class, I think it would of benefit to introduce the arduino earlier in the course and to integrate it into the already established projects.  In the end I think the approach taught my Dr. Koch and Anthony has greatly impacted me in regards to laboratory science but also in a very personal way as well. The belief that we should be open to new and novel ways of doing things is a very important one that this class accomplished at making apparent.


Though my experience using figshare has been limited to the single assignment where we were required to make use of it, I can see its potential for being of great benefit to lab science. It allows one to easily store all data associated with their projects and makes it easy to search for data of other’s that may be of use. If scientists were to upload data which was good and bad it could lead to greater accountability and understanding by others of their projects. As far as functionality it worked great. I do have one suggestion regarding the screen where you create a new data entry. I have uploaded a screen capture  of this to better illustrate my point. While filling out the information on my data I twice mistakenly clicked on one of the recent tags on the right hand column thinking that it would populate them in to the tags field within the form I was filling out. Instead, it just used navigated me to a list of already created data sets where I had used the tags. When I attempted to return to the original screen to complete inputting data, I found that I had to reenter all my data. I would suggest a warning that you are navigating away from the page and will lose data or something of this nature.

Open Notebook Science

My experience with open notebook science has without a doubt been a very enlightening one. I’ll admit that when the approach was first described last semester during my first Junior Physics Lab with Dr. Koch, I experienced a certain amount of trepidation. For so long I had been indoctrined in the traditional manner of performing laboratory science and like others I was not very enthusiastic about making a change. The aspect I was most wary of was the fact that my fellow classmates would have instantaneous access to all information in the notebook and that especially all my mistakes would be there for everyone to see.

After two semesters of using ONS i feel much different towards it than I did in the beginning. I no longer feel awkward having my mistakes in full view of others, because I know their’s are there as well, and by having access to each other’s successes and failures we can better learn and perfect the techniques used in our labs. One of my favorite aspects of ONS is the use of technology to better archive all aspects of our procedures, both written and media based. I’ve actually looked to see how to use this in all aspects of my life. I am now an avid fan and user of both google docs and evernote. It may be a long road but if scientists as a whole were to adopt the ONS format they and scientific advancement would benefit.