Let's Make Robots!

First robot: Traxx

Navigates using ultrasound, flashes led lights

I had a great deal of questions before diving into this project. We all have our little preferences in how things should be. I first focused on choosing the right controller for the job. I settled on an arduino because of the versatility of the board. If i needed to, i could pull the pins, flash a different sketch, and have the board ready for a different project in no time. Afterwards, I could just re-flash the robot control sketch and i'm up and running again. I consider it a great investment. 

Second, I am all about style, and do not mind using a few extra dollars to try and make things look sharp. To this end, I decided to use plexiglass,  as it is rigid, fairly durable, and i had a huge sheet of it already. 

 Next up, I had to figure out how i was going to make the little booger go. Did I want wheels? tracks? some sort of hybrid? I think the general consensus here is that tank treads are high in the cool department. A tracked vehicle not only looks cool, but can often tackle various types of terrain, depending on how you configure the tracks. Enter, the Tamiya track and wheel kit. Affordable, and spoken well of by all who have used it. So, decision on tracks concluded.... But how was i going to power them? The easiest answer came in the form of the Tamiya twin motor gearbox. Since it was also a Tamiya product, i could find it in many of the same places i would find the track kit. Also, there would be no fear of the wheels and drive shafts being incompatible. 

So, i had all these great ideas floating around, and i was busy daydreaming about them when a question came to me..... I was building a robot, yes. But to what end? I had no idea what i was going to do with the thing. I decided the best idea would be to have a semi-autonomous robot with wifi and a camera so i could control him remotely, and of course he would have to have an airsoft turret and a burning laser, death ray, arms, voice synthesis, AI, machine gun, anti tank rounds....... wait... what the.... ? I had no clue how to incorporate a single (if any at all) one of these ideas into my robot!!! I realized that my dreams of skynet were far, far in the future.... I needed to learn what the hell i was doing first.

 

 I wired up the H-bridge myself. 

IMG_0608.jpg 

 

 

I used acrylic to make up the body. 

IMG_0579.jpg 

 

 Tamiya track and wheel kit, twin motor gearbox, and SN754410 motor driver. 

IMG_0622.jpg 

 

Trying everything out once i got it wired up.

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Close up of the idler wheels. 

IMG_0630.jpg 

 

 

The more or less finished product. I went through about 20 different battery/pin combinations before i settle on 7.2 volts and the pololu motors. In this pic i'm using the stock tamiya motors and a 4x AA battery pack... Not enough cowbell... err.... voltage: 

IMG_0631.jpg 

 

 

 The first video up at the top is how he ran before the pololu motor swap and the higher voltage. The second video is the robot running a series of left turns to test out how well his tracks hold up and how quickly he can zip around.

 All in all, I feel quite proud of my work and look forward to expanding my knowledge of processing and C. I have to thank the LMR community for their help and ideas when i started to stonewall. I plan on doing an IR and ping sensor next. After that I will try my hand at IR remote control and add an airsoft turret. I will update when I have more.

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Nice progress. I'm glad you stuck with it!

Are you tensioning the tracks by changing the distance between the plexiglass plates using the wing nuts? Cool idea.

This is probably a stupid question:

"7.2 volts and the pololu motors."

I can't quite see in all the pics, but does this mean that  you removed the motors that came with the tamya set, and reinstalled others?

I assume it does, because I can still see the tamiya gearbox in the third image.

Or am I more confused than I first thought I was?

 

 

 

 

Yes Emuller, I ordered the pololu motors that can take up to 12v. I am using 6 rechargeable AA's at the moment to power him, but plan on switching to a battery from a rechargeable drill soon. For some reason, my computer and the site are not giving me the ability to link single words right now, so here is the pololu link:

 http://www.pololu.com/catalog/product/1117

 

 Ignoblegnome, I had the tension adjusted like that at one point, but I moved the brackets around a bit. Now i adjust the angle of the brackets on the underside. It seems to give me tighter control over the tension. 

 

I am going to take some more shots of him today when I'm at work. My desk is the perfect color to make my iphone focus only on the robot. 

I am also a fan of plexaglass and Ebay erector set bodys. I  have a new bot coming out but stuck in programming mode now. I do get alot of good ideas from this site.

Reminds mine Tankah! I never made him autonomous, just remote controlled.
Be carefull with the plexiglass and batteries, mine crashed when I recharged the batteries due to over heat. You can see it here.

Will look forward to see more progress of your Traxx  ;)