Semi-loose thoughts from a total begginer
April 23, 2012
I'll be using this blog entry to kind of introduce myself, and gather/organize my thoughts and plan my way into making my first robot but also receive any advice that might be given to me.
path of interests (line of thinking) that led me here:
re-sparked interest in rc helicopters; cat manifested too much interest in the micro helicopter I bought; helicopter dangerous for cat; bought micro rc car for cat; cat still interested more in rc heli than rc car; fear of gravity plus (more importantly) the realization that some knowledge in electronics would be desirable to get into bigger (outdoors) rc helicopters =implies=> I must learn electronics to advance in rc heli flying & must learn robotics to make a robot that "apeases"/entertains my cat.
current (ordered) stock:
- bunch of breadboards; connecting wires; set of resistors, capacitors, etc; (cheap :x) digital autoranging multimeter; 2 DC micro motors + wheels; 4 micro 9g servos; HC-SR04
I've ordered all of the above after perusing through several robot projects and over-the-knee-averaging what I might need and then searching ebay for the el cheapo parts. Most of those above come from China, so I expect I won't have some of those in less than 3 weeks from now.
As for the "brains" I'm planning to go the Arduino way (I'll buy it locally) since I've already have a few friends that delved into arduino before, and some that are planning to follow my footsets into robotics hobby now.
Learn basic electronics;
Learn basic arduino programming;
Proper planning and building of basic 2-wheeled obstacle avoiding begginer's robot.
Assess the performance (according to own's expectations) and cat's interest in robot :p
Try and model the the robot's behaviour according to cat's reactions (trying to guess beforehand, I'll have to to code something like: move robot semi-randomly -> stop it in lurking mode -> wait for cat to approach and investigate -> detect cat's proximity & activate some jiggling mechanism that will either startle the cat or entice it to paw the robot.
If by this stage I haven't burned out my components (and budget) and/or my neurons and patient and I feel I can progress in the hobby I would like to try a jab at making it (or a new robot) be controllable via home router. mount spy cam + wireless module and whatever necessary to check out what's happening at home while at work...
TBD... Time will tell...
- budget (student's budget :/ )
- space (small apartment), meaning I don't have a lot of space to work with large robots or more fancy materials that require big power tools and whatnot.
- time, alas I don't have all the time in the world and on top of that my time managing skills are sub-optimal; plus since I usually very skeptical-cautious I tend to do many things slowly.
ADVICE I ASK:
- any, which you might seem useful for a begginer like me.
- any major logic flaw/pit-I-might-be-stepping-into that you might notice on my plans (althought at the moment they are quite unspecific)
- CURRENTLY, what PLAGUES me more is "raw construction" materials, like for making the base for a 2-wheeled robot. I know there are several commercial available choices for that, but I would like to be able to make whatever I want according to my own specifications. So I want to know opinions on easy to find materials, easy to work (without need of fancy power tools) but still durable enough for robots that don't crumble apart at first run, and also non-toxic. (I thought about plywood, not sure about how durable it is)
- any tool, material or so that you might think I should have as a begginer.
Thanks for reading and I hope that in a few months (considering I might have to wait up to 3-weeks for the 1st batch of parts) I might be able to actually post a robot project of my own (for starters)!