Let's Make Robots!

TheCowGod's blog

Improvements to Components & Solarbotics components on LMR

Hi, guys. I just wanted to keep you up to date on the improvements I've been working on for the site. As you probably know, a few months ago we imported the full Pololu product catalog into our Components section, and we've been talking about ways to make use of that nice big database we now have.

Nudging newbies in the right direction

As this site continues to grow and get more popular, the prevalence of "incorrect" postings (non-useful subject lines like "Help me", posting questions or ideas as Robots, asking questions in the shoutbox, etc) has increased to the point where more of our members are concerned about it.

Pololu components integrated

A few weeks ago, Frits posted a blog entry explaining that we were working with Pololu to integrate their product catalog into our Components section. It took longer than expected to wrestle Drupal into submission, but at last the integration is complete, and as you may have noticed on the front page, all of Pololu's 300+ products are now listed as Components. Feel free to browse around -- the cool thing about it is that all of those components remain editable by every LetsMakeRobots user, so you can post comments, tips, opinions, etc about any component you want.

Getting started with machining

About four years ago I came close to taking a job at Honeybee Robotics, a company that makes robots and parts for things like the Mars rovers. One of their robots, W.I.S.O.R., even had a really cheesy movie made about it. It would have been a pretty cool job, except that what they wanted was someone to machine parts for their robots, and I didn't know a single thing about machining.

Help troubleshooting JDM PIC programmer

Well, my PIC 16F690s arrived in the mail, and I soldered up an ICSP-only version of the JDM programmer to program them. Unfortunately, and not at all surprisingly, it doesn't work -- the PIC programming software (picprog, in linux) doesn't see the PIC:

So it turns out making a lifelike drumming robot isn't as easy as you'd assume

Well, I finished the construction, added the second drumstick up front, redid all of the circuitry on a PCB to eliminate the breadboard and clean things up, soldered up ribbon connectors instead of having loose wires everywhere, and glued down everything that was still hanging loose. So it's done, mechanically. Now I've turned attention to the coding.

Almost done with LDM construction

23.jpgAhh, I've made a lot of progress. LDM is now almost complete, construction-wise. I still want to cram in a second drumstick up front somewhere, and of course I need to attach that sampling board hanging out in space (I'll probably just hot-glue it to the side), but there's enough there to start working on the code.

Trouble with the bass drum

The first Solarbotics GM10 motor I mounted or LDM for the "bass drum" quickly started getting stuck, as if the gears were faulty. I cursed, cut the hot glue to get the motor off of the robot, and soldered up wires for another motor. With the new motor glued onto the robot, I tested it and, just like the first motor, it worked great for about a minute or two, and then started getting stuck as well. So now I suspect that the gears are just getting damaged when the stick hits the ground repeatedly.