Let's Make Robots!

30 Posts in 30 Days (Personalized tutorials just for you)

I have gotten to the point where I can start to step back a bit from the business (Rocket Brand Studios) and take a breath. I have everything refined a bit, parts coming in and orders going out is becoming very routine. This all translates into a bit more time for me to do what I wanted to do in the first place --get folks going in their new hobby. 

I am starting a fairly ambitious project. I am going to attempt to do 30 posts in 30 days. I see the same topics come up around here often and gosh darn it, I think I can do a good job at explaining them. So I shall. --As an example, sending data via a serial connection (IR, RF, Xbee or with a wire) comes up a lot.

If there is a robot-related topic you would like explained, please let me know. For each topic I hope to include:

  • Hardware --Wiring, boards, hooking stuff up
  • Software --Example code, but more importantly a code walk-through (line by line)
  • Googleable search terms

If you all would be so kind, please let me know what you want to learn about. It will most likely get added to the list.


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It occurred to me in the shower that what might be more direct for exactly the kind of thing Chris is talking about doing here is a wiki.  DanM may have done the walkthrough, but where did it show up?  A centralized LMR how-to and data reference would be incredibly helpful.  Maybe if CtC succeeds in his quest we can use it and various other how-tos (about anything Gareth has come up with comes to mind) as the basis for such a reference.  Since LMRv4 is in the works, would it be too late to put my vote in for such a thing?

I was thinking about this while running tonight (unfortunately not naked this time Andrew ;-) and I have a few suggestions (read: requests.)

-Servo basics, like types, sizes, general operation (CR And linear as well as standard) and expectations for a given servo. Maybe standard and not so standard hacks.

-Battery basics: chemistry, how charging works*, voltage, amperage, what's okay to solder and what's not,

-Advanced robot physics. Probably want to break this one up into input/output, things like calculation of torque requirements/limitations for servos (think will this servo work at this place in this arm or walker leg,) speed for a given set of motor specs, considerations for using wheels, canted wheels, tracks or legs, limiting considerations for sensors of various types and environmental targeting.

-best practices in project planning, milling, circuit design and soldering, programming and end usage.

-advanced mistakes. I've seen a few videos where you've been very forthcoming about things like burning up a cut out. That kind of thing can probably save others THOUSANDS of dollars when all totalled if we learn from it.

Hope that's not too many requests! I know these aren't actually walk-through style tutorials, but I think they still would be useful blog-posts. I look forward to it and I'm glad to hear you're taking a little "me" time.


*When I was in about 5th grade, I had a teacher tell me that to charge a battery you had to run the current through it backwards.  I never questioned it until I was 39 and trying to hack a cell-phone charger.  Thanks a lot, Mrs. O_ _ _ski!

You mentioned "hooking stuff up". I would like to know what type of connectors are best for connecting wires to the pins on microcontrollers. I don't like to solder to my controllers because I usually re-use them on different projects. And some connectors come loose from vibrating and shakeing around. I've seen some connectors on other projects that look like they work nice, but require an expensive crimping tool.