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Chinese New Year 2019 - Year of the Pig



The celebration of Chinese New Year is a time for family to be together and bring in the new year with many blessings to come. In Southern China, one well-known tradition is the “Tray of Togetherness”. This tray is used as a way to welcome people into your home, and use symbolism to show your family’s hopes for the upcoming year.

To add a little technology and interest into our tray, we 3D printed a platform using a Lulzbot Mini2 3D printer. Using a continuous servo controlled by an Arduino Uno (see code below), this platform will rotate to display our 3D printed Mandarin oranges. Why Mandarin oranges? They are said to bring riches. The long stems and intact leaves symbolize health and longevity. Click here for the STL files to print your own.


For some of our decorations, we wanted to create stamps by milling them on the  Bantam Desktop CNC machine. These stamps consist of the symbols for “double happiness”, “wealth”, “longevity”, and “happiness”.


To mill the stamps, we used linoleum blocks from Bantam. First, open up the free software (found here). Next we need to change some of the configuration settings. Change the material to “Generic” and update the width, height, and thickness of the material being used. In this case, our linoleum block is 101.6mmx127mmx22.86mm.

Now, import the SVG file for the graphic and more settings will pop up. For this example, I’ll pull in the “double happiness reverse” file. Why reverse? Think of a stamp, if you mill the standard image, it will be mirrored when you stamp it. So, to have the proper orientation you will need to mirror the image before milling it. The software shows you what will be milled, in the photo below you can see that the outline of the Fu is being milled, but really that’s what we want to be able to stamp.


To change this, scroll down to the “Advanced” settings and change the drop down next to “Invert” to “Yes, everywhere”. This will leave the outline of the “Fu” raised and mill down the rest of the linoleum. Deselect “Cutout” in the “Parts to Mill” selection.


Now it’s time to select the milling tools. This material requires a new tool which you can download here or create a custom version to update the speed. The Tool Library is located under the File tab. In the image below you can see the tool we used “⅛ Wood2” and all of the settings for it.


More important than the decorations, are the tray’s contents. There is an assortment of traditional candies, nuts, and sweets that typically have a home in the tray. Each food item is placed in its own area of the tray and holds a significant meaning of well wishes for the new year.

May this new year bring you good luck, health, and wealth. From all of us at Digi-Key, Xīn Nián Kuài Lè! (Happy New Year!)


Copy Code
#include <Servo.h>

Servo myservo; // create servo object to control a servo
// twelve servo objects can be created on most boards

void setup() {
myservo.attach(2); // attaches the servo on GIO2 to the servo object

void loop() {
int pos = 90;

myservo.write(pos); // tell servo to go to position in variable 'pos'

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