For people with rectangular tables and cats

Everyone with a cat knows that they get bored easily. If a toy doesn’t move by itself, preferably in a random manner, they aren’t going to play with it for long.

Sand tables can be great cat entertainers, but there is no way to get them to produce the sort of random movement that will keep a cat entertained for a long time. Until now!

I wrote a simple spreadsheet in Google Sheets, specifically for entertaining cats with a sand table. You specify the maximum X and Y dimensions of the table, the maximum and minimum speeds desired, and a maximum and minimum dwell time for each point. The spreadsheet then generates random coordinates to move to, applying all those constraints.

Here are a few sample lines of the resulting gcode:

G1 X546 Y363 F64923 G4 S2.1
G1 X517 Y746 F64796 G4 S.7
G1 X204 Y392 F89477 G4 S1.8
G1 X33 Y168 F65892 G4 S1.3

Note: I amusing a Duet wifi controller board and it doesn’t complain about having the G4 dwell commands on the same line as the G1 command. I don’t think it will be a problem, but your controller might not like it.

I just generate 500 or so lines of gcode, copy and paste them into a text editor like notepad++, and save as a gcode file. Then I upload the file to the table (Arrakis 2.0) and it’s ready to run.

Ms. Kitty seems to like it:

If you had a RPi or other computer connected to the table, it probably wouldn’t be too hard to generate random gcode on the fly and have it work for as long as you want to let it run.

The spreadsheet is here:

The spreadsheet currently has only straight line motion, but I am planning to add arcs and circles using the G3 command.



I run a python script on the V1pi connected to mynsand table… but the cat loses interest because the ball is under the glass. Instead she likes to attack the trucks under the table.

As a veterinarian I say 10 points, more cats need such a table!

1 Like

Ms. Kitty will chew on wires and belts, so I covered the bottom of the table with a piece of cardboard cut from a TV box. The belts are out of reach, but the electronics are exposed. She has chewed on the LED strip connectors, so I 3D printed covers for them made of TPU. Even she can’t chew through that!

Ms. Kitty loses interest in chasing the ball after a few minutes, but every couple days if I turn the table on and start running a circular erase pattern at 1000 mm/s, she comes running. There are usually some coasters and remote controls on the table but when she wants to chase the ball, she pushes it them all to the floor to get them out of her way.

I have seen her spinning after the ball so much that she apparently gets dizzy and falls off the table. The day I catch that on video is the day the video goes viral and Ms. Kitty and I will live out the rest of our days in the lap of luxury, thanks to the fame and fortune that will surely follow.