Despicable Katie’s Minion Pi

When we were at SXSW Create in Austin back in March, teaching hundreds of kids about Bash script, we met a young lady called Katie.

Katie looks unassuming, but she’s actually an evil genius.


Some guy who needs a shave, and Katie.

Some of the other kids we talked to during the three-day event hadn’t done a huge amount with a Raspberry Pi before (although we saw a lot of young people who were using Pis at school or home for Scratch programming or Minecraft); but there were some real experts among the crowd – and Katie, who came along to tell us all about what she’s been doing with her Raspberry Pi, and to get some tips, was the sinister stand-out.

Katie’s been using a Pi at home for some years for a number of projects, but her most ambitious yet is her Minion Pi, which she was preparing for a school science exhibition when we met her. Minion Pi is a customised Kossel Mini 3D printer driven by a Raspberry Pi 2 – Katie’s built a custom power supply and a custom user interface on an iPad using her phone as a hotspot, so the whole thing is completely self-contained. Why? She’s building an army of Minions, her first step towards world domination.


(An important note: Katie is eleven years old. Like most of us here at Pi Towers, when I was eleven I was mostly making forts in shrubbery and chewing stuff that wasn’t meant to be chewed; not building complicated computing systems.)

Katie made this board to explain how her project works. Click to embiggen.

Katie made this board to explain how her project works. Click to embiggen.

Here’s Katie’s diabolical contraption in action. (Printing Minions, naturally.)

Gru Katie mailed me to say:

I’ve still got some work to do on the project (Pi Cam should arrive on Thursday), but it’s running really, really well, and the Raspberry Pi makes it easy to control from my iPad, and made it really easy to take to school and demo. People are already paying me to print stuff!

Katie’s made a very detailed build diary available (she warns me that the server it’s on is easily overloaded, so it’s possible you may have to come back later to look at it). Congratulations, Katie: this is an amazingly polished project. Please look upon us kindly when you are Despicable World Queen.