Let's Make Robots!

Dot Muncher


I threw this little guy together for my son Silas because he wanted to play with dad's "Wobot."  There's not a lot to say about him, he's a hodgepodge of parts I had lying about:

  • HDPE Bought at the Dollar Store for $2 (I guess that's the Two Dollar store.)
  • 3-6v 400 RPM Geared Mini Motors: $8
  • Two wheels from eBay: $2
  • 4-40 bolts, nuts, and washers (local): $4
  • Arduino Uno: $9.85
  • Ardumoto Shield: $11
  • Bluetooth 4.0 Module: $9
  • 4 x NiHM lying about: $0
  • 1 x Free Sunday morning

Total: $36.85

The first iteration took maybe an hour.

But, after I tossed the little guy together there were a few adjustments.  I noticed right away I got this "Oh lord! Don't drop it!" feeling every time Silas picked him up.  Psychology being my profession, I sat on my couch and analyzed it :P

I want my son to spend time with me so I may teach him how to live.  I know males often need co-operative tasks to feel secure in their bonding.  Therefore, if I'm constantly upset my son is playing with the fruits of my interest he will not share the interests with me.  It's a simple matter of reinforcement.  Silas comes into my lab; Silas gets reprimanded; therefore, the behavior of coming into my lab is punished (negative reinforcement) and thereby decreases.  This means, for Silas to share my interest, thereby allowing us to bond, I'd need to find a solution to my cognitive dissonance regarding him picking up the robot.

Like most things, I narrowed it down to money.  I would get tense because I knew the robot was fragile.  It had a mixture of 5 and 3.3v components, and it was still using breadboards and jumpers, I was afraid he'd drop it, it'd break, and I'd lose money.

I couldn't ask a three-year-old not to pick up a robot; tactual experience is primary for young males, it was an expression of his interest, something I wanted.  And I couldn't make the parts cost less.  This left me with only one optionrobustness.  

I vaguely remembered this was a key component of systems theory, but it was one I very often ignored.  So, I did what someone who has never had a science would do, I added a lot of bolts.

Video of the "Process":

Warning: My son is worse than Matthew McConaughey about wearing shirts.  Hey, we try, boy's just proud of his belly.

At the local hardware store I bought some 4-40 bolts and nuts, and started revamping the little bot.

In the end, I really didn't do anything fancy, as apparent.  I drilled holes into the battery plastic-case, that aligned with holes in the robot base, and bolted it together.  I, for the first time, used the mounting holes in the Arduino Uno, bolting it to the base.  I then "designed" a hood (bonnet) for the little guy. from match HDPE, making sure to bolt it down as well.  Lastly, I sealed the motor-gears with electrical tape and put a few drops of oil in them.  I noticed this regarding geared mini-motors, they collect hair and will strip out the gears.  

In the end, I did nothing a second grader would be proud of, but I did force myself to drop it from hip heigt five times to make sure I was over the "Oh Shiii-nobi Ninja!" feeling. In psychology we call that systematic desensitization. Or something as equally important sounding.







It collected so much hair the tires poped off.














I was careful not to wrap too much of the motor, since I had the thought it might decrease thermal exchange.


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sir ladvien,

i love your work. nice project sir and good documentation. and your son having lot of fun....



My son can't say R's. :) Might watch the video :P
Sorry I didn't watch it. I'm on the tablet and not all content makes it through. I did catch the part about him not wanting to wear a shirt. I'm that way with pants after about 6pm.
Lad, I would never presume to tell you what to do, but there is quite a bit of bad Karma attached to that name. Just before you joined us (an event btw for which we are all thankful) there was another set of events that weren't as mature or intellectual as the ethos you bring to the site. The last person to use the name "Wobot" made enemies of the whole group of us and got banned TWICE. (Not that you can get banned for using that name.) This kid managed to alienate and insult both IG and CtC, which is almost as difficult as drawing an Amish dude into a fist fight. Innocent as it is, it's kind of like moving to North Birmingham, Alabama in 1975 with the misfortune of being named "Bull Connor."
Maybe I'm looking at it wrong though. Maybe this is our chance to wash RB out of our memories and make "Wobot" a less distasteful word. Let's go with that. (Just don't make him look like a white Wall-e.)
Not knowing LMR's history, I apologize. I don't mean to cause flashbacks for anyone, I'll rename him so no one has a mental health crisis. But don't think for an instant it "Wobot" reflects on my lacking in creativity, I simply would rather be sincere than creative. :)
You have both in admirable quantities. I hope never to make you or anyone choose between the two!

You won't.  :)

And I genuinely believe you're not the kind of person who'd make anyone choose; you'd simply voice your perspective, and let them choose.  But the nifty thing is, you're an honest person.  Those seem to be pretty damn rare, in my opinion.

I might have lurked in the SB one day: Max, you don't have Asperger's (again, my opinion). You're literal.  Something I work hard to be. I realized if my wife asked me, "Does this make my butt look big?" and I told her it didn't, when it in fact does, well, she'd know I was a liar.  Then, being a liar, when I would say, "I love you" she would always doubt it because I'm a liar. Of course, I still get hit when I'm honest about the pants. 

I might not always like your opinion, but damn-skippy I'm going to listen to all of it. (Kinda like OddBot's :P)

Ok.  Enough of that fruity stuff.  I got to go lift something heavy and drink a beer to assure myself of my masculinity. :)