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.


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


Sherline CNC mill


 Trusty Dremel with drillpress mount.


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.


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


Shelves and compartments for components.

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


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.


 Next comes the keyboard.


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.


Now for the main event.


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


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


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


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.


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


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


Free connectors :D


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.


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


This CD drive was a gold mine.


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


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


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