Raspberry Pi: The Pi Towers Secret Santa Babbage

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Tired of pulling names out of a shawl for bureau Secret Santa? Upgrade your gratifying tradition with a Raspberry Pi, thermal printer, and everybody’s favourite microcomputer mascot, Babbage Bear.

Raspberry Pi Babbage Bear Secret Santa


The name’s Santa. Secret Santa.
It’s that time of year again, when a cosiness gets incited adult to 11 and everybody starts meditative about ridicule fat men, reindeer, toys, and good home invasion. At Raspberry Pi, we’re using a Secret Santa pool: everybody buys a present for someone else in a office. Obviously, a chairman we buy for has to be picked in tip and during random, or a whole thing wouldn’t work. With that in mind, we combined Secret Santa Babbage to do a rather paltry charge of selecting present recipients. This could’ve usually been finished with some names in a hat, yet we’re Raspberry Pi! If we don’t make a Python-based Babbage drudge wearing a robust shawl and automatic to widespread Christmas cheer, who will?

Secret Santa Babbage

Ho ho ho!


Mecha-Babbage Christmas shenanigans
The book a drudge runs is flattering basic: a list of names entered as comma-separated strings is shuffled during a press of a GPIO button, afterwards a name is popped off a finish and stored as a variable. The name is matched to a imitation of a chairman stored on a Raspberry Pi, and a thermal printer pinched from Alex’s super overwhelming PastyCam (blog post forthcoming, maybe) prints out a design and name of a chairman we will need to showering with gifts during a Christmas party. (Well, OK — with one gift. No some-more than 5 quid’s worth. Nothing untoward.) There’s also a redo function, usually in box we collect yourself: press another symbol and a final picked name — still stored as a non-static — is appended to a list again, that is shuffled once more, and a new name is popped off a end.

Secret Santa Babbage prototyping


As a build was a bit of a rush pursuit undertaken during a ask of a ‘Director of Vibe’ Emily, there are a few things I’d like to urge about this functionality that we didn’t get around to — some-more on that later. To supplement some additional holiday suggestion to a devise during a final minute, we used Pygame to play a WAV record of Santa’s ridicule giggle while Babbage chooses a name for you. The record is enclosed in a GitHub repo along with all else, since ‘tis a season, etc., etc.

Secret Santa Babbage prototyping

Editor’s note: Considering these table adornments, Mark’s Secret Santa gift-giver has a lot to go on.

Writing a formula for Christmas Mecha-Babbage was sincerely straightforward, yet it uses some wily pieces for handling a thermal printer. You’ll need to implement a drivers to make it go, as good as a CUPS package for handling a imitation hosting. You can find instructions for these things here, interjection to a smashing Adafruit crew. Also, for reasons we couldn’t fathom, this will all usually work on a Pi 2 and not a Pi 3, as there are some harmony issues with a thermal printer otherwise. (I also tested a book on a Pi Zero W…no dice.)


Building a Christmassy throne
The hardest (well, fiddliest) tools of creation a whole build were constructing a bench and wiring a bear. Using MakerCase, Inkscape, a bit of ingenuity, and a laser cutter, we was means to supply adult a Christmassy plywood bench that has a hole by a chair so we could run a wires down from Babbage and to a Pi inside. we finished a bench by rubbing a integrate of fingers of beeswax into it; as good as creation a timber gleam usually a tiny bit and safeguarding it opposite removing wet, this had a combined reward of creation it smell awesome.

Secret Santa Babbage inside

Next year’s iteration will be mulled wine–scented.

I subsequent soldered dual LEDs to some lengths of wire, and afterwards ran a wires by holes during a tip of a bench and down a behind along a tiny channel we had forged with a slight cut to bond them to a Pi’s GPIO pins. The immature LED will sojourn on as prolonged as Babbage is using his program, and a red one will light adult while he is estimate your request. Once a red LED goes off again, a subsequent chairman can have a go. we also laser-cut a final square of timber to conceal a behind of Babbage’s Christmas bench and cover a wiring a bit.


Creating a Christmas cyborg bear
Taking dual 6 mm pleasing buttons, we clipped a spiky steel legs off one side of any (the buttons were going into a pressed christmas toy, after all) and soldered a length of handle to any of a remaining legs. Next, we done a tiny rent into Babbage with my reliable Swiss army blade (in a place that indeed done me tremble a little) and fed a buttons adult into his paws. At some indicate in this routine we was station in a bureau wrestling with a bear and muttering to myself, that elicited some really bizarre looks from my colleagues.

Secret Santa Babbage throne

Poor Babbage…

One thing to note here is to make certain a wires sojourn trustworthy during a solder points while we pull them adult into Babbage’s paws. The initial time we attempted it, we snapped one of my connectors and had to start again. It helped to mislay some stuffing like a hovel and afterwards reinstate it afterward. Moreover, we can use your fingertip to support a joints as we poke a handle in. Finally, a integrate of squirts of prohibited glue to keep Babbage’s bushy cheeks resolutely on a seat, and done!

Secret Santa Babbage

Next year: Game of Thrones–inspired candy shaft throne


The Secret Santa Babbage masterpiece
The whole build routine was a ideal holiday brew of contented and macabre, and while removing a thermal printer to work was a tiny time-consuming, a finished product really lifted some smiles around a bureau and combined a bit of engaging digital essence to a undisturbed bureau tradition. And it also helped people who are new to a bureau or from other branches of a Foundation to know for whom they will be shopping a gift.

Secret Santa Babbage

Ready to allot Christmas cheer!

There are a few ways in that I’ll gloss this devise before subsequent year, such as carrying a book write a names to outmost content files to emanate a record that will insist in box of a reboot, and maybe carrying Secret Santa Babbage play we a pointless Christmas tune when we fist his duke instead of usually shouting merrily each time. (I also suspicion about adding electric shocks for those people who are on a disobedient list, yet HR pronounced no. Bah, humbug!)


Make your own
The formula and laser cut skeleton for a whole build are accessible here. If we devise to make your own, let us know that pressed fondle we will be branch into a Secret Santa cyborg! And if you’ve been operative on any other Christmas-themed Raspberry Pi projects, we’d like to see those too, so tab us on amicable media to share a gratifying builder cheer.

Source: Raspberry Pi blog

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