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Full Name: Justin T. Conroy

Titles: President, Robot at Large

IRC: `justin

Minecraft: OptimusPrimeTime

About Me

I hack on robots, embedded systems, bicycles, beer brewing, CNC machines (3D printers, routers, etc.), and the hackerspace itself.

I'm also the president at PS1.

Current projects

Fabulous/Mini Fabulous

Fabulous is a robot I built to compete in Robot Riot on December 9, 2015 at Geek Bar. Fabulous won that competition so bad that they had to create a new rule to kick Fabulous out in the next competition. They put on a weight limit of 7 pounds for the next Robot Riot (Fabulous probably weighs 20-30 pounds). In light of that, I'm working on a new robot for Robot Riot II. It's called Mini Fabulous because it's supposed to be a miniature version of Fabulous. Robot Riot II will take place on January 23, 2016 at Gaming Under the Influence. It will be live streamed allegedly.


  • GDS (Glitter Dispersal System)
  • Remote Control!
  • Glitter Blister Skin (the robot bleeds glitter when it gets hit by other robots)
  • Chest Burster?

Control of Robot Arm

Someone on the public mailing list sold me a pair of robot arms for $150. It was a sweet deal so I took them. One of them has a controller to move it manually. The other one came with a handful of stepper drivers.

  • So far I've gotten the one with stepper drivers to move all its joints at the same time using an Arduino and a fancy stepper driver controller library.
  • I'm working on adding limit switches to each joint so I can move them to a known position at power on. So far I've managed to install two.
    • The first one was on the elbow.
    • The second one is on the shoulder.
    • I'll probably do the base next. I've had a few suggestions for how to do it.
    • The wrist will probably be the most difficult. I'll probably actually attach the switches so that they'll be triggered by the brass turnbuckles on the cables.
    • The gripper already has a switch for detecting when it's closed, so I can use that.
  • Once I can home the joints, I can add additional control software on top. I plan on working out the full inverse kinematics, then programming the bot to do things like block puzzles.
  • I may even add a camera above it for some more fun! :-)

Automatic Cash Membership Dues

I'm working on hacking a Bill Validator from a vending machine. The end goal is to hook it up to a simple interface and the membership database so that people (like me) can pay their dues in cash and have it credit their accounts automatically.

Quick Facts:

  • I'm using a CoinCo MAG32SA Bill Validator that I bought off of eBay.
    • It uses the MDB protocol.
    • I've proven that the bill validator does work and I have been able to enable all bill types and accept money.
    • I'm working on putting all that I've learned so far into a library for the Arduino.
    • The code for the library is available on github now, albeit still as a work in progress.
  • Currently I need to create the user interface and the database stuff on the backend. It's a lot of stuff I've never done before, so this part may take a while.
  • Whenever someone figures out RFID stuff, it'll have to work with that, for convenience and whatnot.

Sidelined projects

These are projects that I'm technically still working on. I've realized that in order to actually get anything done, I need to focus on a single project, finish it, then work on the other projects. So I'll get back to these projects once I finish the project in the Current Project section.


  • Taken from the Coursera Control of Mobile Robots MOOC:
  • I'm building and programming this robot as I follow along with the course.
  • Sort of sidelined right now because of problems flashing Linux to the BBB.


I'm working on building my first 3D printer with my coworker, Joseph. It will be based on this: . We ordered parts from Misumi using their discount they put up on reddit. We still need to budget/buy the rest of the parts (electronics, motors, hot end, etc.) and print out the printable parts.


An IRC bot, written in LISP. It doesn't really exist yet. I'm teaching myself LISP and making this bot at the same time.

3D printed humanoid robot

  • The design comes from
  • So far I've just printed a couple of parts for the left hand. I haven't bought any of the non-printed parts yet.

Explorations of Silicon Wafers under the SEM

  • I've already viewed the top layer of a wafer and taken some pictures:
  • The next step is hopefully to get the LapMaster running so I can grind some layers off and see actual components.
  • This project is basically on standby until I can figure out the lapmaster stuff.

Want to work on

Old Projects

End Grain Cutting Board

Eric B. taught a class on making end grain cutting boards. I took the class to learn how to make one. It ended up looking very nice. It was a Christmas present for my momma. I might need to make another one for my sister. I should probably put some pictures on here.

Laser Turret

For this project I was planning to use an Asus Xtion Pro connected to a Raspberry Pi and some servos to build a laser onto a turret and have it track people. It would play some sound effects from the portal turrets to make it more entertaining. I managed to get OpenNI to compile on the Raspberry Pi, but I found that the Nite libraries, which actually do the user tracking I would need were proprietary, and thus I got stuck on this project. It looks like OpenNI might actually be dying now, so I don't know if I'll ever continue this project. I was really hoping I would come back to it in 6 months or so and find that they had either open sourced Nite or that they had at least provided a binary blob for the Pi. Oh well. Maybe I can try to use Point Cloud Library instead.

Other Things