Let's Make Robots!

Computer Parts Salvaging

My work occasionally has a surplus computer sale, where they get rid of old or non functioning computers.  So I picked up a nonfunctioning one complete with keyboard and mouse for free.computer_salvage_010.jpg

 This is also probably a good time to show you my basement workshop.

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The whole setup takes up a corner in the basement next to the central vac.

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Sherline CNC mill

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 Trusty Dremel with drillpress mount.

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Bandsaw and hobby lathe. The table the bandsaw is sitting on is a router table I made.  I also made the messy workbench as well.

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My first robot building tool, the scroll saw.  It does a good job cutting acrylic and the like.

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Shelves and compartments for components.

Time to get to work.  Lets start with the mouse.

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The insides didn't yield much too useful since it was a cheap mouse.  I can salvage the LED and the wires.  The scroll wheel looks like a nice robot wheel though.

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 Next comes the keyboard.

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Nothing too salvagable here.  I could do the LEDs and wires again.  Not too sure what I could use the little rubber springy things for.

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Now for the main event.

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Side panels are remove and I believe I could make some sort of chassis out of them.

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Good ribbon cable for connecting stuff.  I would probably use them for sensors.

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Old floppy drive.  The drive case and the drive itself look like good hacking grounds for a robot body.

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Power supply.  I believe there is a how-to on this website on turning this thing into a bench powersupply for your robot building needs.

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Jumpers that were scattered all over the motherboard.  They are really good substitute instead of using a dip switch.  

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The case fan, speaker and a cable harness for the switches and lights.

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Free connectors :D

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Heat sink from the CPU.  I could probably use this on a motor controller to crank out the amps.  For those of you wondering, the CPU was a P3.

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After removing the speaker and fan, I have a pretty interesting shaped box which could serve as a good chassis as well.

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This CD drive was a gold mine.

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The case is a nice shape great for a robot.  I think I will try to make a sumo out of it.

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Under that copper heat sink are two motor drivers.  I will attempt to salvage them and see how well they work.

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Gears and motors.  I also found two 3mm diameter rods inside which are the perfect length for the axels in the Vulcan Five sumo.  

 Well thats all folks.  Not bad for free.

 

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If it's a CD/DVD burner you can take out the laser module and light matches/pop balloons with it. Also, try taking one of those keyboard keys and modding them for a flash drive, ie http://www.instructables.com/id/Custom-USB-Drive---Project%3a-Enter-the-USB/ 

Just a few ideas.

 

BTW: cool workshop!

Thats awesome.  I would probably use the shift key.  The CD drive was a cheapo read only one.
Why not salvage the cmos camera on the mouse, and encoder?
The encoder was mechanical not optical which was interesting.  I still have the board.  I just have to find out how to use it.

I'm thinking the scrollwheel sensor is rotary encoder. I remember seeing one at Sparkfun- http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/product_info.php?products_id=9117

 

Seems like a potentiometer without stops or something...

I doubt the cmos camera has any documentation on it (in house part) and would yield more trouble than good.
Actually you may be surprised - 3 out of the last 4 optical mice I've pulled apart (quite old ones too) have had 3rd party optical ICs. They were common parts and I was able to find a very comprehensive datasheet.
The 4th one had the IC label sanded off, and I couldn't be bothered going to the effort of tracking the part down.
true, though when i was searching info on my mouse, i found an 8 pin cmos camera, that is the most  common, you could be lucky that was the one you have :P
Now think of what you can pull out of one of those rack mount multi tape backup systems  :D