Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category
Buddy 4000 is a classy robot chassis designed to express robot emotions with an artistic flair.
See it in action in this video!
Buddy 4000 is available NOW in the RoboBrrd Store! Special introductory sale, $5 off!
It is everything you are looking for in a robot chassis that looks like a classic robot. Perfect as a chassis for a small project, or just a robotic statue.
Open Source Hardware
Yes, Buddy 4000 is OSHW! You can view the .stl’s in our 3D viewer mode, and download an archive of all the files. Hopefully this will let everyone be able to make their own Buddy 4000 (or even a derivative of it). Send pics if you do! Go check it out.
Name Your Price
There is a special ‘name your price’ feature on the Buddy 4000 store page. The extra money is going towards our robotics fund / Maker Faire NY travel fund! We really appreciate your help, and hope to see you at Maker Faire NY!
Buddy 4000 was created to look like a modern version of the old ‘tin toy’ robots. We put much effort into the design of the ‘bot, so hopefully it meets this goal. It took a while to finish this off, especially with all the documentation. Enjoy it! If it makes someone smile, it has been worth it.
Thanks to all the twitter people for following this project over the course of developing it. It’s been fun, and the replies were always interesting to read!
Hooray! The iterations on the ‘Fun Robot Project’ are complete! Since the last post, more work was done on the faceplate/style aspect.
The first idea was to print the style directly onto the piece. However, this made accessing everything inside of the pieces quite difficult. Shown below is the head, with the LEDs and servo in it.
It looks cool from the outside, but it had to be glued together (yikes).
That really didn’t work out. Instead, went with separate pieces for the styles.
In the CAD it was pretty easy to make ‘negative’ extrusions- so they could be printed in a different colour of filament. In order to do this properly, the shapes were scaled down by 0.96. If it was a (what I call) ‘inside-facing-shape’, then it was scaled up by 1.01. This would leave enough space for the kerf, so it could be glued in.
The colours make it look snazzy!
This wasn’t done using dual-extrusion, we’re debating whether it would be worthwhile to upgrade or not. Taking these off the build platform has to be done very carefully, otherwise they jump all over.
Now for the electronics! There is enough space inside of the body of the robot for everything. There are two perfboard breakouts: one for the RGB LEDs, and one for the servos and power distribution. The microcontroller is a 3.3V Arduino Pro Mini, and a LiPower board transforms the 3.7V (or whatever it is, can’t remember) to 5V for the servos and LEDs.
Here is how it all fits inside of the robot. The servo cables and battery are nearest to the front wall:
Everything gets patiently wiggled inside. The servo & power perfboard breakout goes near the bottom.
That breakout then gets folded over, and the servos are plugged in.
Finally, after more poking, it looks like this!
Since it has its battery inside, it will be able to be wireless. Maybe there is room inside somewhere for an XBee as well.
Because of the sockets that are on the arms, head, and feet, it has a few degrees of posability. Combining the poses with the servo movements is going to be fun. Check it out!
Robot is greeting you:
Robot is sad:
Robot is happy:
Robot is cool:
This week we’ll be working on programming it, making a video, getting it on the RoboBrrd Store, and documentation.
But of course before all of this happens- we need to find a name for this robot! We originally made it to look similar to the old ‘tin toy’ robots. Hmm…
Anyway, it is nice to reflect on where this robot has emerged from. Check it out, taking a leisurely swim in the pool of fails!
More robots to come… of course!
ROBOT DANCIN DANCIN TO THE MUSIC OF STEPPERS STEPPIN!
They have to be cleaned up, time to dive in. On this side is the belt that moves the encoder wheel and gearbox (which is on the other side). The encoder wheel is made out of metal.
There are two light sensors to detect the encoder stripes:
After cleaning all this up and screwing it back together, it’s time to flip to the other side. This is the part that is protecting the gearbox:
After taking it off- tada! Gearbox! This was pretty dirty before cleaning it.
Did the same cleaning for both wheels. This should make them run better!
Here’s what we’re going to be driving them with! The Pololu Dual VNH5019. This motor controller is pretty sweet, it even has current feedback. Special thanks to Solarbotics!
Here’s what the setup looks like. I wasn’t sure about using it as a shield and the pin connections, so it is wired up with the breadboard for now. The battery is 11.1V (same one that MANOI uses).
It works GREAT! The motors spin and the wheels move. Sensing the current works as well. One of the wheels, however, had a tendency to slip when pressure was applied. I found an elastic roughly the same size and installed that instead of the black o-ring. It slipped a little less this way.
There is a little problem with the Roomba wheels. How on earth to mount them to a robot? Well, luckily with the 3D printer and some calipers, we can rapidly prototype! Here is test #1-4 (left to right). It started as a C, and once determining the dimensions, some boundary extrudes were added on top.
Here is test #5-8 (left to right). #8 ended up being the final version, but had to be reprinted with a smaller number of shells. In test #6, the ‘circle’ part in the middle now has an empty boundary around it. Without it, the piece cannot flex together and clamp onto the motor. The ‘clip’ areas were greatly thickened in test #7. This is important because these pieces will need to be quite strong!
Now, one would imagine that printing the final version would be quite simple. For some reason, this was definitely not the case, and the prints kept failing one after the other! 6 fails in total! Arrgh!
This one is my favourite fail.
ANYWAY, finally it finished. Here they are attached to the motors, with a 1.5 inch 6-32 screw holding it all together!
Though, here is something peculiar. The two motor mounts are exactly the same, except mirror images of each other. The mirrored one printed fabulously the first try. This one seems to keep not having some of the layers get printed. It is slightly worrisome, as the layers could break apart and cause a tremendous robot breakdown.
Notice the difference? Quite weird.
The motor mount was modeled in Autodesk Inventor. Here’s what it looks like:
Stress simulations are fun. This is a simple one with two 10N forces on the clips, and the model is fixed at the ‘circle’ part. You can see where the point of failure will probably be, as indicated in red.
The clips actually don’t move this far when attaching to the motor, and hopefully the motor will also provide some sort of support at the stress points.
It was fun to be able to make something that wasn’t created before, so that these great wheels can be used. Though, I didn’t expect to take so much time on a minuscule task. I guess there is still lots to learn about 3D printing.
Up next, I have to create the shell of the robot. The two roomba wheels will be the only drive wheels, meaning two other wheels will probably be 3D printed as well. RoboBrrd will definitely be able to sit in/on the robot!
As you might have seen in the teaser video from last week, we were working on an application called RoboBrrd Dashboard. Now, it is available as Beta 1! Check out the video overview:
Watch on YouTube
This was made entirely in Processing with controlP5. It was quite straight forward to code it, the things that took the most time were in the details, like positioning, colours, and buttons. It also writes to an xml file, to save your current theme and servo positions. Handy!
Here is a screenshot:
RoboBrrd enjoys being calibrated with RoboBrrd Dashboard!
This is version Beta 1, so let us know if you find any bugs so that we can fix them
Help spread the word of RoboBrrd on Indiegogo and share the inspiration of robotics! Thanks!
HELP MAKE ROBOBRRD HAPPEN!
FUND IT HERE: http://www.indiegogo.com/robobrrd
RoboBrrd is now on Indiegogo! We’re really excited to get this going! Here is the video for the campaign:
Watch on YouTube
We will be posting updates and more as it happens today!
Help us get the word out, be sure to tell all your friends about RoboBrrd!
We’re having a kickoff party at 4PM ET! Join us in a Google+ Hangout and feed RoboBrrd, and just hang out! Details here! Hope to see ya there!
Here is a new robot creature that I created! It doesn’t have a name yet, so it’s just called ‘weird eyebrow robot’.
It reacts differently when you ‘pet’ it and ‘poke’ it. Beware when it ruffles its brow! It enjoys singing short jingles. Rumour has it that the light up googely eye can peer into your soul.
Check out the video to see it in action:
Watch on YouTube
Pretty cool right? All of the electronics were from the Arduino Starter Kit. Here were all the electronics used from it:
- Micro servo
- Piezo speaker
- 3 Photocells/LDRs
- RGB LED
- White LED
- 2 Yellow LEDs
- 3 Blue LEDs
- 2 Green LEDs
- Lots of resistors…
It actually takes up all of the pins on the Arduino, which is great. All of the LEDs can be controlled individually, and the RGB and white ones (which are behind the googely eye) can have PWM.
Here are the extra parts and tools that were needed. If you don’t have any of these you should get them, or find a substitute. Some of these are obvious, but this list will serve useful for any newbies looking at it!
- Craft sticks, popsicle sticks, coffee stir sticks
- Hot glue
- Orange paint
- Purple sharpie
- Wire, shrink wrap, electrical tape
- Soldering iron, solder
- Scissors, wire cutters, wire strippers
- Googely eye
I started creating the robot just from the popsicle sticks. I wanted to try out a mechanism that was in my brain for a while, a way to control two eyebrows with one motor.
There is a lot of electronics in the starter kit, which is just awesome. It’s way more than you need, which is super for experimenting! I’m probably going to be using the LM293D for hacking the Useless Machine in a later project
So there are some interesting things in there… like a servo, funky coloured thing (aka pinwheel), lots of leds. I painted the eyebrow structure orange and this is how the idea is coming along:
There’s not that many wires for this robot, but I organized them with some tape so it would be quicker to plug in.
All of the pins are used! Yipee! Happiness!
With some testing of the pins and such, we can make the robot look differently!
With some more programming for its behaviour, it is done! (See the video for it in action if you haven’t already). There were some issues when programming it at first- I was writing and testing it when no LEDs were turned on. Since we’re using a breadboard, turning on the LEDs added some noise that I didn’t account for. So I had to scrap the entire program and just rewrite it. It works great now, though! I really like the way it has turned out.
It’s really great to have it running on your desk while you are typing away working on something. It goes to ‘sleep’ after 15 seconds or so, and its white LED does the Apple breathing pattern. When I was editing some of the photos, and got up from the chair, my shadow must have triggered the robot and it woke up, singing a little, so I interacted with it a bit! It’s almost like a real creature!
Back to the Arduino Starter Kit now… the book is cool. Makes me wonder if in 10 years, will they be rare like the Heathkit instruction books?
At the end of the video tutorials that go along with the kit, Massimo always says “Arduino is YOU”. So apparently I am a crazy robot builder with an unorganized desk then:
Thank you RS Components for the Arduino Starter Kit. It was really nice to use it to build another robot. They have videos of Massimo explaining the projects and such over here. Everyone should check it out and let their imagination run with it! Maybe even build a sibling to ‘Weird Eye Robot’, haha.
Also, if you noticed all of the wire, I finally used up the last of my yellow wire, and heat shrink. So right now I don’t have any stranded wire, and I’m running low on the solid core wire. If any of you readers know anyone out there who can donate a spool of wire, and some heat shrink, please let me know! Any help is really appreciated! Thanks!
Get your Arduino working with Google+ Hangouts!
I hacked this together a while ago, and now here is the tutorial for it. A lot of people have requested it, so hopefully it is of help!
Check out the video!
Watch on YouTube
In order for this to work, there are four main parts. The web app, Processing sketch, Arduino, and Google+ Hangouts xml.
The web app is the core of it all. The way it works is that it uses web sockets for communicating between the browsers, and a tcp socket to communicate back to Processing.
Processing is listening to this tcp socket, and then it tells Arduino what to do.
To get it working in Google+ Hangouts, the web app is included as an iframe. If your camera is pointing at the Arduino, then everyone will be able to see it work!
I have posted the code for all of this on Github. Go check it out!
A large amount of the code was based off of the code by John Schimmel: node-session. He was really awesome on Twitter helping me get it working!
The tutorial, with all the steps listed out, is over on RoboBrrd.com. I really recommend looking at it, because it tells you where to replace the variables for your own ones.
If you decide to take the plunge and try it out, I created a long in-depth tutorial walking through the code.
Watch on YouTube
I really hope that this helps people out there to get started! I would love to control some of your robots and blinky lights through Google+ Hangouts. Oh yeah, and it would be great to see them on the Robot Party!
Let me know if you have any questions along the way, and I can try and answer them! Gooooood luck!