Life with Little Free time!
November 12, 2013
Right... It has been Way to long since I have had enough time to jump back into this amazing community so this is a quick Catch up on what has happened and what I've learnt in the last 9 months! (Why-Lumi once said if it's not on LMR it hasn't actually happened! & Some Pretty AWESOME Stuff has happened!)
The Low down....(More Info will Follow)
Moved to Australia, Got a Crap 60hr a week job driving-NO TIME for ROBOTS :-(
6 months later I Got a normal boring Job, I Joined Gold Coast Tech Space, I Learnt to etch PCB's & that drilling holes is a Nightmare.
I Built a 2" Bot that was nRF controlled via a webserver running on a Raspberry Pi, Idea was 6 Bot's All with shields running around a playing field, shield gets hit 3 times web server drops that player and another player could hack in(guess a 3 digit code) with thier Mobile phone and take control. We never made it to 6 tho, 2 seemed about the most we could manage without LAG.
I Started developing a small Beginners Robotic Solder Kit, Enter The ACE Robot (Arduino Controller Educational Robot, I Couldn't add the R to the acronym, Some other company already had that :-) It was completly through hole, easy to solder/hot glue and all in about 6 (beginners) hours. I Learnt getting PCB's from DFRobot was almost faster than I could do them myself (in my Spare time) & that getting a steady stream of small motors from china was near Impossible (I was using the same motor as ALF, Thanks Lumi for the help here). With the Motors gone so was the Cheap Cost :-( This Project morphed(and still is) into something else totally... (See MiniMoto below).
ACE was capable of Maze solving, Acting in a nRF Swarm, Being controlled via Bluetooth or IR. Had Hall effect wheel encoders, could carry a 9g Servo with a Ping/IR distance sensor and had simple bump detection.
In the mean time I got asked to turn a few projects for other people from perf board into nice Shiny PCB's, Then asked if I could design (another) Arduino mini type board for the Tech Space to sell. I learn't to SMD Solder & that Solder Paste and a $36 toaster oven is worth it's weight in gold or should I say, Best thing since sliced..... ;-) Using this technique from Jon Oxer over in freetronics I can even manage 0603 parts now.
GCDuino is below and cause I LOVE ROBOT's I had to make a Motor Shield aka MiniMoto (it also breaks the 5v & Gnd out to the breadboard Rails). Some Australian schools have ordered some kit's from the Techspace to use in their Robotic clubs and will be available online once I get the price point sorted.
Then Something amazing happened! I got asked to come to a factory and have a look at this automated bakery they were making, They were having trouble with the electronic company they were using and I was asked if I though I could make it work....
I don't have any photos of the Machine but it's about 7meters long, 2 wide and about 2 tonnes worth of Steel. It's Controlled by Some Super spec, Super Isolated Relays that switch 3 phase with a 24v input and a pile of Hydraulic Ram's. It use's 8 different microcontroller modules to control all the different parts and they all have to be able to communicate with each other. The Old version required engineers to carry 8 different modules to swap out the matching broken one. My design....
The top left corner was left blank as a Prototyping Space and will be swapped out when we decide on the final design :-)
This Module use's (surprise, surprise) nRF & Bluetooth for comm's, has 24v Digital input/output on 10 ports and Analog on 2.
The dip switches change the program that the modules run allowing it to be installed in any Position on the Machine.
It's using an Atmega 1284 as a brain and is totally controlled via a mobile App.
So....I now have a full time job as a Prototype Engineer :-) Dream Come true!
I Also have been asked to come and demonstrate Arduino/Robotics at School's and Uni's in the local area
And It's LARGELY because of LMR, So Thank you LMR, And Thank you to everybody who make's this site as amazing as it is!
I'll be adding Robot's and other Projects Soon....