My loyal reader has pointed out that I have, indeed, been falling behind in posting. However, do not fret for I am back! I was on vacation with my family, enjoying the niceties of Las Vegas. My vacation has messed with the schedule of thingaweek so I've decided to put that challenge temporarily on hold.
In other news, I've made great strides in my drawbot project! I was originally going to create a 3d printer, but I decided to first make it into a drawing robot before having it create 3 dimensional objects (easier to code for). I transferred from using stepper motors to using continuous servos because it allows for less hardware that needs to be connected to the arduino. Unfortunately, continuous servos also mean that I have to add in odometry to the robot to keep track of how far the servos have turned. I used two small touch sensors from a printer that I took apart and mounted them near the theta and R axis (I'm using a polar grid system, not a Cartesian one).
I played around with the programming, and I was able to get java to talk to the arduino thanks to nice tutorial on how to interface an arduino with processing via firmata. It's really quite satisfying to be able to tell the computer to move 3 units, and the drawbot moves 3 units!
I'll post more on the robot as I work on it.