Let's Make Robots!

Top of the hill robot

Picks up ping pong balls. Traverses gravel pit

This was my first try at competing in the National Robotics Challenge. There are a number of challenges involved, but I chose the Top of the Hill challenge. The goal is to pick up ping pong balls as fast as possible on a gravel field. Your robot can be remote controlled.

Design elements:
-Extremely lightweight. The main structure is honeycomb structured cardboard, which is stiff yet light. Electronics are RC airplane parts, wheels are foam, and other pieces are thin PVC sheets.
-Wheel design allows the robot to “float” over the gravel, yet the paddles still sink in enough for grip. For on-road use notches in the paddles allow a rubber band to be stretched over them for use on smooth surfaces
-Claw was originally a vacuum fan, which was much more effective, but took too much current. It was switched out for the large flexible claw at the last minute
-Arm design keeps claw/vacuum at a 90 degree angle, no mater the height

Servo Mods: Modification was needed to give servos 360 degree rotation, eliminate servo creep, and make both right and left sides spin the same direction
Wheels: Back wheel made from scrap, front wheels RC airplane wheels with added pvc paddles to help it traverse gravel. Much experimentation was done to come up with the effective paddle design



Final results:
I made it to the fourth round, placing 3rd. Surprisingly this robot proved more reliable then some of the opponents- which were made from $1000+ VEX kits. This was also nominated for the Innovation award, which covers all robots from all contests, 650 bots in total. After an interview with Honda engineers I placed 1st!


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A thoughtful design. I also liked the video of you describing and critiquing your own work. That's a good practice and one that will take you far. Great proplem solving, experimentation and craftmanship were displayed.


Agree 100% with merser,you are genious. Love your projects and ideas that are great to read and also watching your videos well documented . Thanks for sharing with us and welcome to LMR :-)

Avalanche of robot posts and a hearty welcome to LMR. You do some good stuff. I reckon maybe you should look at an engineering future. God knows we need more that know how to design well.