Let's Make Robots!

Little Black Box

Avoid walls, look cool with shiny LED's


This will be my first robot with a brain, unlike my first attempt at a robot which just had 4 transistors for its extremely basic operation.  I'll be using an Arduino, or more specifically the generic "Really Bare Bones Board" from Modern Device, which is considerably more affordable.  Some people refer to these generic boards as "Freeduino."

After my Solarbotics order arrived the other day I was so anxious to play with my cool new robot parts that I ended up building for a good chunk of the day instead of working, which I was supposed to be doing.  But I completed the chassis for the bot already, built out of the 3mm expanded PVC I ordered.  Some of you may have seen pictures of the parts here:

http://letsmakerobots.com/node/2838#comment-10307    :P

This will be an "arty" robot, as the lingo on this site seems to go, since I'm putting LED's inside the body and behind the eyes to create some cool effects while it moves.

Videos and more photos to come.  Stay tuned. 

I put the motors in and the wheels on.  I'm still trying to find a caster small enough to work as a third wheel. 
Oof ok so this is a terrible quality photo (cell phone pic) but I'm lazy and tired right now, so I'll upload a better version tomorrow.
This gives you an idea of what I'm going for.  I'm going to put blue LED's inside, one pointing through each wheel, so that when they spin it makes a cool lighting effect.  :D 

Built the head this evening.
I'll put blue LED's in the head for backlit eyes ... perhaps I'll have him "blink" occasionally for added cuteness.  :)
Also, I've soldered the Really Bare Bones Board together.
Actually there's one small detail missing in that picture ... 4 of the female headers.  I dropped them somewhere and don't feel like getting on my hands and knees to find them under my desk just yet. 

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I'm away on vacation with my family for the whole week of Thanksgiving, so this project is temporarily on hold.

However .... it recently occurred to me that after LBB's completion, I really ought to equip him with some sticks and make a Little Black Drum Machine!!  I just thought that was a fun idea, and decided to share it with the world.  :)

If the bot's not heavy then I remember Fritz use half a pingpong ball as a skid quite effectively. It also has the advantage that you could put LEDs inside.
Yeah, I thought about getting something smooth for it to skid on.  I'd prefer a wheel, but if I can't find one that works, sliding on something would work well enough, assuming I could find something with minimal friction on most surfaces.  A ping pong ball might just do the trick.

When I started roaming the house for a suitable skid, I returned to my lab with a bottle cap. Turned my silent little A1 bot into a very noisy little bugger. I have ceramic tiles on my floors. Your deciBellage may vary.


Oh, and if you're after a very small caster then a ball caster might do the job- I ordered in one of the Tamiya 70144's from here - https://www.technobots.co.uk/acatalog/Online_Catalogue_Ball_Transfer_Units_392.html - but it turned out to be smaller in total height than my wheels so couldn't reach the floor!

Thanks for the tip.  The distance to the floor is about .70 inches on LBB.  Since I'm in the US I decided to look on Pololu's site and order directly from them.  These are the two options I found:



So either plastic, or metal.  What do you guys think?  Has anyone tried either of these ball casters, and if so, do you know what the strengths and weaknesses of the two are? 

I've been experimenting with the tiny rubber wheel from solarbotics. Using a piece of metal wire or a paperclip, can make a good tiny caster.


 You'd have to wait for the order to be delivered of course :(

I can wait for delivery since I can get done a lot of work other than finishing the chassis while I wait.  The head hasn't even been started yet.

Could you post a few pics of your progress with making casters out of those wheels?  I want to get a better idea of how you did it. 

The only thing with the casters is that they get dirty, kinda like a mouse ball.

Ya know, one idea that someone had was to use the front landing gear(the ones that rotate that is) of an rc plane. They are small, spongy or rubber and pretty small. Easy to clean as well.


The only problem is that I'm not sure that would fit under the bot since it's only a .7" gap.  But, I've got some tires from an old model RC plane, so maybe I can make those work.  No casters on them, but I'll try to get creative.