Let's Make Robots!


Obey my every wish

Ok. I have started my first custom robot! I'm going to call him "Luigi" cuz he was going to be controlled by an Arduino, but I decided not to. But its a cool name!

You're probably disappointed because I'm using pre-built VEX pieces. That's okay, because I'm going to change that to PICAXE soon enough. I just can't wait till I get my parts! I want to build a robot NOW!

I am in the works of cutting my sheet of plastic (yes, by hand, not with Dremels or machining tools or lasers.) I got a major cramp in my wrist.  ☺



That's my cut-out piece of plastic. After a while, I realized that it was too big. Time to draw up a new design...


Those are the VEX parts I will use in the initial model of the robot. It's radio- controlled, but I could program it if I bought this expensive programmer thing. But it probably has plenty of power, as its run off of two sizeable surface mount PICs.

Ok, now I'm getting lazy.



There's a rotary tool with a cutting attachment being glued on.


Then I tried it. The tool melted the plastic, so I'm probably not going to use it anymore.


Keep waiting for more updates everybody! 


I finished the prototype. Basically, I stuck some Vex motors onto the plastic. With LiquidNails. Bad, lazy, me! Well, it looks good, even if my crappy webcam pics don't show it! But then I left my robot sitting there and the glue (which apparently never dries properly) kinda let go of the motors. SOOOOOO....... we can determine that we should never use Liquidnails in any other application than wood. 


yup, that's an iSight picture alright


that's the bottom. See the big, heavy battery class? That's 2000mAH of 7.2 volt juice! (believe me, I have no idea what i'm talking about, I just read that off the battery. I need some classes on what is current!) 

Ok. So forget that.

Good news! I finally put in that order! I'm gonna get real parts! And its gonna cost 160 bucks! Yeehaw!

For those of you who care to wonder what I ordered from HVW Technologies, here's a list.

Picaxe 28x1 starter pack

L293D motor driver, x2

GM9 Track Set

GM Wheels, x2

AIRRS, Sharp

Servo S03N

GM Brackets x2

Super Bright LED Blue

Servo Wire x5                            (for connecting sensors)

1/2" Plastic Ball caster, x2

Picaxe 28x1 IC, just in case I burn out the other one! I'm taking no chances after the BS2...  Also, is there a post somewhere that shows you how to make your own board?


Should be showing up in a week or so. 



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In my limited experience of using a Dremel, it seems to melt far more than it cuts, leaving a ragged edge that has to be smoothed.
Oh yes, I never posted a picture of the red dots all over my arms from molten plastic. It's good in a pinch, and a little sanding fixes things.

In the end, I was forced to use the Dremel cuz my saw blade broke and my other saw didn't have enough clearance if you know what I mean. 1st one was a coping saw, 2nd was a hacksaw. The Dremel left burn marks on the cut.

Anyways, I glued on the Vex parts. I'm kind of in a hurry cuz we're about to leave on a trip, so I can't show you the pics yet.

Maybe in a day or 2, everybody! 

If I am cutting straight lines, I just score the plexi by running an exacto knife down the side of a ruler a few times, then all you have to do is snap it with your hands and it breaks off straight. doesnt work well on smaller pieces though, they always seem to break funny for me.
I have a tool specifically used to score plexiglass.  It works a little better than an exacto knife because it actually removes material (a knife seems to push the material up and to the sides).  its still really only good for straight lines but sometimes I've gotten a gradual curve by creating a deep score into the plexi and breaking off a little at a time with a pliers.   For curves I usually do a rough cut of the object using 3 or 4 straight lines tangent to the curve then I add more tangent lines untill its not possible to score a line and break it off.  at that point I sand it slowly by hand with corse sandpaper being carfull to to melt it.  then step down to a finer grit sandpaper. 
kit looks interesting, how is it to work with? 

Yeah, it's pretty good. It has Erector style metal pieces, and like, lots of little screws and nut things. Do you see the little tag poking out of a ragged hole I cut in the controller? That's the receiver, it used to be in a big separate box, but I took the chip out and stuffed it in the controller module. If you want to program it, you have to buy a programmer, and that's one of VEX's problems. They have these expensive add-on modules. Luckily, the starter set comes with a remote control. It's a pretty kick-butt controller, got 6 channels, an LCD, yeah. Except it doesn't have great range. One thing: invest in the rechargeable battery pack set. The motors are like servos, they use PWM.


By the way, it's pretty tough too. I made a pretty hefty robot, and kinda accidentally drove it off a HUGE, STEEP hill with tons of stumps and rocks to crash into. And it survived. Lots of slightly bent metal, but nothing a hammer can't fix, huh? 

Thanks for the advice on cutting plastic, but in case you guys haven't noticed, that plastic is STRONG and THICK. There's no snapping it, unfortuneatly. 1/2 a centimeter. 

vex is awsome good choice

Yeah, the Vex system is pretty nice to start out with for radio controlled stuff. Plus, when you move on to more advanced things, you can still repurpose the parts as all the motors are servos and the metal is great for building stuff. There's even a 5v regulator IC in the controller module (if you want to go that far). Nice joysticks in the RC controller too... For my science project I built a catenary reflector using a sheet of aluminum foil. I made the base out of Vex parts.

 And even if you don't want to move on past the Vex system, each controller module has 2 PIC micros in them. You need a programmer (sold seperately by VEX) to utilize their full power.