The intelligent ski-course

Last year I started building an intelligent ski-course, which was basically a set of buoy drones that would swim to there positions in a public river to form a ski course. This would then allow tons of interesting possibilities apart from easy setup, such as changing the shape of the course. Most of the project is documented on As I am a very eager slalom skier in dire need of a course for the local public lake I would very much like to finish this project. However, at this point I find myself without time working on finishing my PhD. I will one day restart my efforts, if anyone is interested in developing the project from where I left it, you are more that welcome, just keep me in the loop.

The state of the project:

  1. Most of the code has been written.
  2. The electronics for the buoy and base station has been mostly finalized
  3. 3D printed parts needs to be revised
  4. Propulsion system needs to be tested
  5. Control system must be programmed
  6. Support must be added for the rest of the buoys

My 3D Printer

I decided it would be a good idea for our lab, and for me, to have a 3D printer at our hands. After some consideration I ordered a kit from a local supplier DIY Electronics whom I would gladly recommend. The kit, a relatively new design, is named a Prusa i3. Up to now, after the printer has been assembled and improved. I have yet to decide on a proper name, in the mean time he will be called wall-E.

Below is a very crude time lapse I made using my GoPro 3, suction-cupped against the wall, taking some stop-motion photos.

After installing the Repetier host and firmware and getting the end stops and motors working in the correct directions I was able to successfully print a cube. Which I thought was way too easy. After some numerous calibration guides and models from thingiverse I have calibrated my machine enough to print its own parts. The list of which I will share at the end of this post. Below is 2 photos of wall-E, he was originally just white, but now has a few black parts which were all self printed with PLA.

printer2 printer1