Cat lovers will appreciate maker Miska Karvonen’s latest 3D printed gadget: A hands-free, Cat Laser Entertainer Robot. It isn’t as though holding a laser pointer is particularly arduous task, but with the robot, you’ll now be able to entertain your cat and make a video of the event at the same time–because the world needs yet another cat video, right? In fact, Karvonen’s video of the robot in action (check it out at the bottom of this page!) is a great addition to the cat video archives in itself.
Karvonen, the humorous Finnish tinkerer, engineering student, father of a toddler, and frequent Instructables and Thingiverse contributor, explained the real impetus behind his latest creation:
“Sometimes you are just too tired to play with your pets and give them the attention they need.”
The Cat Laser Entertainer Robot keeps your cat occupied chasing the familiar, low-power (5mW), red dot laser that seems to be a universal favorite among felines. Karvonen used an Arduino board with a simple shield, two servos, and a laser to construct the robot, which he designed in SketchUp. The Arduino runs on either a 9v battery or on a USB port.
Karvonen’s .stl files for the 3D printed parts are available for downloading on his Instructables and Thingiverse project pages. He used his own PrintrBot–originally a PrintrBot Maker’s Kit, which lets you construct your own 3D printer for less than $400–to produce the parts. The entire print time took a little over an hour and cost about 15 cents. One of his goals is to create projects that don’t require relatively big expenditure for other makers.
He described his step-by-step process for creating the robot and provided multiple photos. If you get stalled in the process of making your own Cat Laser Entertainer Robot, you can contact Karvonen via the Instructables or Thingiverse sites or in the comments.
Apparently, the device was a huge hit with the family cat.
“Cat ran across my apartment for about 20 minutes till she was too tired to jump around,” Karvonen reported. “Mission success. Cat is exhausted and i had some own relaxing time.”
We think the Cat Laser Entertainer Robot could be adjusted to facilitate pre-programming so that when the cat decides to wake you at 6 a.m. for some attention and breakfast, you can grab another hour or so of much-needed sleep while your pet is occupied with the elusive red dot.
Near the end of the video, you see the cat lounging contentedly while the robot continues. Perhaps Karvonen’s next invention will be a robotic cat that can compete with the seemingly inexhaustible Cat Laser Entertainer Robot and its maker. Let us know if you intend to try to create this robot. Discuss in the 3D Printed Robotic Cat Entertainer forum thread on 3DPB.com.