My version of Robert Dobson's "Line in the sand"

Hello all.

I’d like to say thank you to everyone that came before me to share their knowledge and experiences. You have been amazingly informative and fun. Sincerely, thank you.

What follows is a summary of my journey to build a “A New Sand Bot”.

I first came across the Sisyphus sand table the day after their kickstarter campaign ended. My wife and I were very bummed. She actually called Sisyphus and asked to be included in the campaign but the rules didn’t allow for that. We loved this table.

Since then, we followed Sisyphus Industries online, joined their mailing list, told the tale to family and friends of how we just missed out and sulked over our misfortune. Joining the mailing list proved to be useful as we were sent an invitation to visit their booth at a design convention in NYC. This allowed us view the table in person and possibly win one, fingers crossed (we didn’t win). There we met Bruce Shaprio and talked with him for a while. Very welcoming guy. Tried to talk him into selling just the parts as a kit. That didn’t work, LOL, but he did invite us to visit his shop if we were ever in town. We also confirmed what we already knew, we needed a sand table.

I was looking for something else, 3D printer related and stumbled across Rob Dobson’s site. He had details of his design and build with a link to his parts. (very excited). I immediately went to work on building our own. I printed parts, laser cut pieces, found additional hardware, and made the bot. It then sat on my workbench. This was the easy part.

Finding out what to do next was rough. The control Rob used was a board he built himself. I did not want to tackle that option. After research I luckily came across a mega board with Ramps. It was cheap enough for me to experiment on.

Finding firmware was also difficult for me as Ardruino is new to me and I had no direction at the time. I came across a few versions of firmware and YouTube helped for getting it on the Mega. Yay, things moved! But not quite the right way. Straight lines were curved but it moved, I was happy. For months I relentlessly searched for a solution. But not knowing the right words to ask Google didn’t bring worthy information. I became a bit discouraged.

One day, by chance, I found a link to this V1 Engineering forum and my enthusiasm went through the roof! I joined, read in the background for a while, trying to pick up some knowledge without asking for help. I felt I was close to finding what I needed but I kept just missing something. I then mustered the courage to ask. @ArthurvonWilcke (Thanks for the Kickstart!) That’s all it took. You made me feel comfortable, answered my questions, led me in the right direction and helped me to finally finish what I started.

My first Sand Bot was up and running, a table top version which allowed me to travel with it. My parents and I watched it for hours.

I’ve refined my build to allow a second to be installed on the underside of our existing glass dining table. My wife is thrilled, dream achieved.

So the circle is complete. From finding the Sisyphus table, dreaming about it, finding a DIY solution, building it, controlling it, installing it, making patterns on Sandify (incredible work @jeffeb3 ) and “meeting” all of you, has been so much fun and satisfying.

THANK YOU ALL for the journey and support! You are a talented group and the amount of joy you have shown in helping, sharing, and guiding me to get my build of this incredible robot up and running has been amazing. Without you I may still be circling the internet trying to figure things out on my own and dreaming about a Sisyphus.

BTW, you’ve also inspired my next project, building an LR2. My LR2 parts are printed. Ryan @vicious1 had my kit processed in a matter of hours. I ordered it on a Friday morning and it was at my house in NJ on Monday. Better than Amazon. You’re awesome, Ryan!

Now my next challenge. Cleaning a spot for the LR2. This will possibly be my most daunting task as I hoard building supplies and tools. The state of my basement is sad. As a contractor, I come across everything at work and don’t throw it away because it’s still good. And when I finally do get rid of something, it never fails that within a few days I’ll find a use for it and have to go buy a new one. Crazy.



Sisyphus Industries:

Bruce Shapiro’s The Art of Motion Control:

Rob Dobson’s A New Sand Bot:



That is a great looking build! You can tell you put a lot of thought into it, you didn’t just slap together something that just kinda worked!

Sushi on a sand table. Tasteful! I like it a lot :star_struck:

Very nicely executed! That one would be a slam dunk in the WAF category. Your post I think has pushed me past wondering what to do with my spare ramps etc.

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Awesome design and a great execution. I love the patterns you’ve drawn too. Thank you for sharing.

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Thank you. I wanted to show off the mechanism and minimal structure. Both my wife and I are happy.
Its held up with a 1/4 turn cam to release from glass. Easy drop down to clean

It’s far from the Norwegian and German Easter dinner. Since we didn’t get family together for Easter we didn’t even try to make Easter dinner.

Thanks Jeff your work makes it easy!

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That fish really looks great:


I wonder how you made it?

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I used a defunct slicer for fusion360. Which is awesome. And cut on glowforgeSlicer page

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Its really very nice - I will try something similar when i get my LowRider (hopefully) running. :slight_smile:


That is awesome, Mike! I have plans for something similar and hope you can link to the thread where you learned about the firmware.
What are you running on your RAMPS stack?


Great Work Eric! :grin:
The pictures of your table look very good.
Thanks for contributing to this topic.