Let's Make Robots!

Cutting PVC

Note that this is not related directly to robotics, but it is still going to be part of an autonomous system with feedback...

I need to make some straight, lengthwise cuts in a pvc pipe. Each cut has to be 1 meter long. The challenge is that the pipe is already mounted onto the ceiling and I have to do the straight cuts while holding the cutting tools overhead. I tried using a dremel on a piece of scrap pipe and it cuts fairly easily but I can't control it and the tool wanders all over the place.

Does anybody have any practical advice for this type of situation?

Stair climbing robot

I want to build a robot that is not confined to a single, perfectly flat area, so I want it to be able to handle stairs.

I invoke the creative powers of LMR to brainstorm the design for a staircase handling robot drive system.

Here are some of the design criteria:

It has to work for a fairly large robot. Something the size of R2-D2 or larger. (at least 1m tall, with a weight of 20-30 kg)

The stair climbing ability must not come at a cost to the agility of the robot on flat ground.

Swichmode voltage regulators in series

I have two of these adjustable voltage regulators ( http://www.dimensionengineering.com/DE-SWADJ3.htm ) and two 12 volt battery packs (from electric drills, their maximum voltage is actually around 14 volts).

I want to power a computer that needs 19 volts. I am not sure how much power the computer uses but I think it is less than 50 watts.

My plan is to regulate each 12 volt battery down to 9.5 volts and then connect the outputs of the regulators in series for a total of 19 volts.

Robot-gatherer design ideas

I have signed up for Robot Challenge in the Puck Collector contest (here are the rules) . The problem is I have not built anything yet... and the competition is this Saturday (26th of March).