Let's Make Robots!


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tables, desks, benches

My lab will finally be complete with a workbench that will hopefully clear my desk-proper from all the electronics crud.

I bought a few pieces of whitewood (spruce, vuren) that I will assemble this week.


Oh, I know: the legs go under the table.

Edit 9 nov 2008:

It's done! It's smaller than even I feared it would be. Some pics:

Semi-autonomous Quad-rotor Helicopter

Some of you may remember me posting a robot page last week about this subject. It was decided (and I agreed with it) by Fritsl to remove it from there as it was no more than idea at the moment. That said, it was a very firm idea as this makes up a third of this ears mark and a sixth of our final Master's classifications!

 One of our group members has started up a Blog on Blogger to keep a track of thing, so click the link below and you can follow it to keep up to date with what we're doing. 


Today I started to design a robot for a simple task of crushing aluminium pop/soda cans. 


An earlier non-robotic 'plan' involved a PVC (drain actually) pipe mounted as a 'handrail' on our basement stairwell, which one dropped the can into the tube and gravity whisked it away to a waiting bag at the bottom of the steps. 

 Well, we now have about 200 (no lie) cans that all need crushed and we need a plan to crush them with a minimal involvement as possible.  high capacity would be nice too.


robotlab is no node no more

Today I officially deleted the "robot page" about my lab.

As promised to Frits; when I would build a "proper bot" (hmm catchy name), I would replace the lab page with a bot page. And so I did. Check out 1069-A1. And my (almost) finished lab. Nothing more than a blog post now...




Getting started with machining

About four years ago I came close to taking a job at Honeybee Robotics, a company that makes robots and parts for things like the Mars rovers. One of their robots, W.I.S.O.R., even had a really cheesy movie made about it. It would have been a pretty cool job, except that what they wanted was someone to machine parts for their robots, and I didn't know a single thing about machining.

One million new components to browse

As you all know, and as 1069 (Rick) recently described, LMR is very much alive, packing robo action :D

There is always something new to watch, learn, debate, and always the option to take the frontpage with your latest creation.
However, one area that is halting, is the components-section.

The original idea was that we should build a library of components, to centralize info. That way, if two or more different projects was using the same component, the info could be kept at one place.

My Robot Simulator

Ok... I will have to add a proper user manual when I will have some time, but in the meantime, the simulator is downloadable from here:



Cool happenings on LMR this week (2008W43)


Let it be known to the world that letsmakerobots.com is a very live community indeed!
Here is the harvest for the past couple of weeks.


This week we saw the creation and population of the scary user map. Some sixty-plus users are now visible on the map (with varying degrees of accuracy). 


edward1_1.JPGmintvelt demonstrated with Edward that a lot of "robo personality" can be added with just one extra degree of freedom. The neck of his robot was fitted with a second servo, so that it can look up and down. A lot of humanoid expression comes from that one little gesture: nodding. So it was agreed in the reactions on Edward's page.



Something's wrong with this picture

Today a large order from the online electronics store arrived. Maybe a tad too soon...


I put the stuff in my robotlab and plugged in my soldering station. Still, I feel there is something missing. So I ended up tinning/cleaning/tinning my solder iron tip. And unplugged.

On to the home improvement shops!



Circuit board 90% complete

So this is the first pic when it was about 50% complete, with the picaxe adapter mounted. The jumpers next to the adapter are used to select which picaxe to use when programming. 


The next image is with the pwm circuit that I had worked on, mounted on the main circuit board.

The 08m(empty socket at bottom right) controls the motor pwm control circuit.

The 14m(top center) sends signals to the motor pwm control circuit.

Gathering experience with homemade PCB

Oi, yesterday and today I have been trying to make a homemade PCB using Eagle for designing the PCB and printing with a laser printer onto some glossy advertisement paper from junk mail. After several attempts I still haven't gotten a good transfer of toner to the PCB (check images) and I'm wondering if I should just design my PCBs and then send the design files off to Olimex for production



LMR on an oscilloscope.

I used Chris Meighan's ScopeShapes program to drive my oscilloscope from my PC sound card.

The program was loaded with a DXF file created by Armin Müller's eleFont program.

This was a fun day!

Message in a bottle.. or some code

This is actually a comment on http://letsmakerobots.com/node/2514 - only I cannot attach the film to the post, so here goes:

Ant, I downloaded your code, and opened the guts of my robot TIRDNNWIIT, because it uses the same board. I hooked up to servos, alaser, and it was mirrored :D So I reversed, and voila!

That was fun :)

(See attached film made on my cel)


Theo Jansen style robot leg: prototype #1

For my dreamed symbiotic robots, I am looking for an alternative locomotion. For the passive robot (the trailer) anyway. The active tractor probably needs tracks. I heard Theo Jansen say on TED (improving on the wheel, 4 minutes into the video) that his design for a legged creature is (theoretically) more energy efficient than wheels or tracks.

The Eyes of Beholders

Many, if not all, bots on LMR are a joy to study. But only few of them are "pleasing to the eyes".

crazy ideas crazy sketches

I started a flickr account for hi-res scans of my pencil drawings. Let's see how that cooperates with lmr.

clcik to see them all

Unfortunately, the notes in the picture do not show up on LMR. You'll have to click on the image and read them on flickr. More ideas after the >CLICK< .


now also known as rik-lmr

ceiling's done

The white splatter is now mostly on my ceiling. Lab building progress still within schedule.

don't worry, it comes off easily


wrt54g as robot brain

Andrey Mikhalchuk demonstrates how to hack a popular wifi router to have an rs232 interface (or two). The openwrt project allows us to actually use that powerful hack. Andrey did what few people did before: he added a micro servo controller and TING robot's done!

The Pretzel Maker

Last night Grog and myself got to talking, and he said I should make a robot to do my job and allow me to reap the benefits.  While being a great idea, implementation would be troublesome.  I determined that to do every task I have I would need a variety of specialized bots.  Regardless the thought of making a robot that can make a pretzel is quite cool, so I am going to try and design one for me to attempt to make eventually.


So, the steps to making a pretzel that the robot would have to accomplish is -