Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Here is the fully assembled quadcrawler. It weighs a ton. Thats not good. I think this is a good start, but I need to find some lighter, but strong, material to replace the 1/4" plexiglass. I did download a program to it to center to legs. That worked fine. Yippy for me - I can get the legs to move to their center positions! LOL Posted by Hello

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The 4 leg sections are now attached to the top deck. I turned it right side up and it seems that weight of the whole thing might be too much. I have a feeling once I add the bottom deck and battery that there will be some issues :( Stay tuned.... Posted by Hello

The 7.2v 2000mA battery I'm gonna use. Looks like a stick of dynamite. Lets hope its not too big for the servos and board I'm using. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

This is the top deck that I cut out using 1/4" plexi. I cut out a matching lower deck, as well.

Sitting on top of the deck is a Parallax Board of Education using a Basic Stamp 2 micro controller, along with a Servo Controller that will control up to 16 servos simultaneously. Posted by Hello

The endless nuts / bolts / washers / etc. that I had to buy from Home Depot. Posted by Hello

My first go at a leg assembly. It has a mounting area for a servo at the top that will control the leg's front and back movement. The hole is for another servo that will lift the leg before it is moved (so it won't drag on the ground). Posted by Hello

Here are a couple of the leg brackets that I've cut out with the scroll saw. Not perfect, but not bad for my first try without any template to go by. Posted by Hello

This is a sheet of aluminum that I'll use for some of the leg assembly. It's pretty thin so I can cut it with the scroll saw. I just hope it doesn't bend too much when its on the robot. Posted by Hello

I'm using 1/4" and 1/8" plexiglass for the top and bottom deck as well as the leg actuators. Posted by Hello

My new scroll saw from Sears. Posted by Hello

Time for a Quad Crawler

I wanted to try and build a robot on my own - no kits - no instructions... We sort of no instructions. For my first try at it, I thought I would try and copy the Parallax quad-crawler robot. I'll post some pictures through "hello" to see if this is a good way to share my progress.

Lights....camera... snooping!

I thought it would be cool to hook a wireless spy camera to my robot. I added 2 servos and some plastic to give it a pan-and-tilt feature. Here is the finished product.

If you're wondering what video looks like from such a camera (which cost me $25 on ebay). You can take a look at a small video clip.

This picture also shows a remote control. I took the robot out of autonomous mode and programmed it to respond to a generic TV remote control setup to operate a Sony television. Besides the typical forward / backwards / left /right /pivot movements, I also programmed the volume up/down and channel up/down to control the pan and tilt servos for the camera. Pretty cool. One thing that bothers me with the IR remote.. you have to have line-of-sight with the robot to operate it. In a future project, I want to replace the IR sensors with RF. I've looked around and it looks like I can use an RF controller and receiver for a model airplane. Unfortunately, they are pretty expensive. :(


After going through the What is a Micro Controller kit I wanted to build something that actually moved. Hey! What about another robot?! I took my Christmas money and bought the Parallax Board of Education Robot, or BoE-Bot for short.

This was a fun project. Once built, you can modify it to run autonomously. They start you out with obsticle detection using "whiskers", or little pieces of metal that stick out. When the whiskers bump into something, the robot backs up, turns and continues on.

You then remove the whiskers and replace them with IR sensors along with IR "headlights." You program the robot to send out an IR signal and then read the reflection of the signal. You can then tell if you have an object in front or to it's side.

All in all, it looks pretty cool. Cheri at work says the robot didn't have much personality and needed eyeballs and perhaps a mouth. :)

An interest in robots

This past winter I became interested in building robots. Actually, I've been interested for quite some time. I just never had a clue about how to build one. One day my friend Sean and I were walking around CompUSA. He pointed out a SumoBot robot kit for $29. What interested me was the fact that you could hook it up to your computer and program it to do your evil bidding! Mwahahahaa.... sorry, I digress.

Anyway, I got the robot, built it and taught it to travel in the shape of a square. Whew! The world is now safe for democracy! The robot used a microcontoller called the Basic Stamp 2 from Parallax. I started surfing the http://www.parallax.com web site and got hooked. They have tons of cool stuff.

Trying to get myself away from Everquest2, I thought I would try one of their "learn at home" kits as a winter project. I started with their "What is a Micro Controller" kit.
This kit shows, well, what is a micro controller. But it also gets you programming with their pBasic language and downloading it to the processor to do cool stuff. Well, at least cool for a geek.