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How to Embed a Raspberry Pi into your Eggbot

edited March 2013 in Egg-Bot
The EMSL EggBot can be made to stand alone -- completely independent of external computers -- by embedding a Raspberry Pi into the EggBot chassis. Just drill 2 mounting holes for the Pi in the Tailstock, mount it there and connect the USB from the Pi to the EiBot board.  Building the EggBot at and adding the Pi at .   Perhaps EMSL might make this an option for their excellent EggBot kits in the future  -- tailstock would come pre-drilled for a Pi or BeagleBone...


  • It's very neat that you can run Inkscape on the Pi, and I've added a link to your Instructable to our wiki.
    However, the Pi is indeed an external computer-- a full featured, tiny and cheap computer-- that communicates to the EBB through USB.  

    It is possible to run the Eggbot itself in stand-alone mode by reprogramming the EiBotBoard to store the drawings and run them on its own.  To do so is a bit more involved, and so we haven't done much with this capability in quite a long time.

    If you do want to drill holes in the Eggbot chassis, you should take extreme care when doing so, because the chassis is made of fiberglass; drilling fiberglass will produce dust that you don't want to breath.
  • edited March 2013
    Thanks Windell -- we love our EMSL EggBot!  Thanks for mentioning the fiberglass dust when drilling -- we noticed that.  The kit is great and your documentation and support are fantastic.  The way I think of our EggBot now is a dual-board robot.  With the Pi installed on the tailstock the Eggbot has one board (the EiBot Board) that controls the motors and another board (the Pi) that runs Inkscape & the EggBot extensions, and also allows the user to connect keyboard, mouse and monitor to the EggBot itself.  The boards talk to each other over a short onboard USB wire.  Funny enough, the onboard Pi computer, at $35, is even less expensive than the EiBot motor controller board.  I think of both boards as "internal" since they are mounted to the chassis in the same way.  By the way our method uses the RCA video out on the Pi; if one wanted to use HDMI instead just flip the pi over and drill tailstock holes in the appropriate places (with the SD card facing the rear of the chassis).  Mounting a Pi on the tailstock only allows one video out port (RCA or HDMI) to be feasibly used since the other will be facing the ground without clearance for a plug.
  • >Funny enough, the onboard Pi computer, at $35, is even less expensive than the EiBot motor controller board.

    It never fails to amaze me how stark the differences are between the costs of things when you're making hundreds (or even thousands) at a time versus millions.  
  • I went a little further and installed a VNC server on the Pi and a VNC client on my iPhone, now we have an autonomous EggBot which needs no external computer, keyboard, mouse or monitor -- it is all controlled wirelessly from iPad or iPhone.  Please see the video at .  

    Here is the sequence (I posted this on the Raspberry Pi Forum at

    1) On the Pi terminal, run:
    sudo apt-get install inkscape

    2) Browse to the Evil Mad Science Labs EggBot wiki page and download the Linux Eggbot extensions and examples.

    3) In terminal, run:
    sudo apt-get install tightvncserver

    4) Follow the directions at to add the VNC server to the startup of the Pi.

    5) Install the free app "Mocha VNC Lite" on your iPad or iPhone. Now run the EggBot from your iPad/iPhone.
  • I think this is so cool.  A Pi on an EggBot- how awesome. Very nice work.

  • HI Windell,

    In this thread you mentioned that there was a version of the software that allowed you to store images on the EiBotBoard to plot them locally. Is that software still available? Id like to plot the same pattern over many times on some ping pong balls.


  • Hi Anil,
    The capability is not currently supported, and I'm not sure exactly what would be involved. Using a tiny computer like the Pi is probably the most straightforward way to do this.  However, if you're willing to hack at it a bit, it should still be possible...
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