Archive for the ‘R.I.P. Banff’ Category
SCRUMBLEFLIT was all ready to go on display at the Town Hall! Everyone’s creations were on display around town and in a few places in the Banff Centre.
Positioning everything is a bigger challenge than meets the eye. Everything has to have a reason for being where it is! The robot was placed on the floor, it was pretty cool!
Here is SCRUMBLEFLIT outside of Banff Town Hall:
During setup for the exhibition I noticed that if I manually move the stepper motors, it causes the power supply to go into shutoff mode. Jessica lent me some diodes, but then the voltage drop was too much, so instead of using 3.3V from the power supply now, I had to use 5V. The crazy part is that the steppers behaved differently on the 3.5V (or whatever it was after the voltage drop of the diode)! I’m not too sure as to why this is, but I’ll see if I can figure it out at my home lab!
Here is a video of SCRUMBLEFLIT:
Afterwards there was a party in the Vis lab, and SCRUMBLEFLIT’s eyes always look really interesting in the dark:
All in all, the RIP workshop was fantastic! It was very inspirational to meet everyone and listen to what they make, and what they are making. I’m really excited to go back and work on more recycled robots now!
Today was the final day of building everything before all of our supplies and junk goes away. I can’t believe it is almost the end, and the robot has become very built over the past few days, but it still is not exactly how I want it.
I started off by doing some wiring! Found some yellow LEDs for the eyes, and Niklas is lending me his IR sensor!
Here is how the robot face looks with the LEDs and sensor on it. Its antennas are ends of serial cables!
The LEDs are mounted through the back of the face plate:
Sometime before making the arms, I sent a tweet out for name suggestions. @Kiteaton had a wonderful suggestion- “SCRUMBLEFLIT”, and it just sounds so perfect for this robot. It sounds like “what on earth is going on!” in robot language.
Here are the arms mounted on the stepper motors thanks to much hot glue!
The hand is made out of copper wire, with lots of solder, and the keys say “ROBOT”!
Inside of this can there are screws, to try to make noise. I chose Orange C plus for this because it is tasty and sounds like the programming language, C++.
Took some time to visit the place where I will be showing off SCRUMBLEFLIT, the town hall! It is a pretty decent town hall!
Afterwards I went back and worked with the LEDs for a bit. They are interesting because they cast light along the edge of the circle in the doorknob.
I created a blink that seems believable. I do it by quickly (but not too quickly) fading the LEDs to a low light, to signify the eyelid closing, then it jumps back to bright light, to signify the eye open. Blinking on robots is tricky, because if you don’t do it properly, it looks like as if it is glitching out.
After this, I was working on the arms again. Everything was going fine, the arms were moving, then everything stopped. The power supply wasn’t on anymore. As Niklas later taught me, what might have happened is an exposed wire might have touched the outside casing of the supply, making it go into shutdown mode. Apparently power supplies are really dangerous and can explode a lot. Hopefully it doesn’t make SCRUMBLEFLIT explode!
Anyway, I sort of got it working again a little while later, but the problem now is that it takes ages for the stepper motors to “warm up”. What happens is that everything is plugged in and working, but the steppers aren’t moving. However, if I take the power out of the steppers and plug it back in, you can hear and see it react to the voltage, but it doesn’t keep moving. This has happened before in the previous days, still unsure about what is causing it though. It usually goes away by itself, but when it doesn’t, it is really annoying.
We will see what happens tomorrow. I have to wake up early and move my robot from one place to another since it is in the studio right now, so hopefully it isn’t raining then! Tomorrow will have a lot of explaining about what the robot COULD have done and what it SHOULD do. I enjoy talking about robotics nevertheless though.
Everyone’s projects are absolutely stunning! We created so much in a short amount of time, with unplanned materials. Creativity has some amazing super powers!
Here is a video of the robot’s eyes blinking!
On this wonderful day three of the workshop, everything seemed to have some hope for the stepper motor and belt construction! The morning was going great, thanks to a wonderful idea of @billgriggs of using a tensioner for the belt (by the way, shameless plug, check out his maker masters website ^^).
The only problem was that the tensioner was too good. It completely tore off one of the rubber belts on the axel!
Gluing this rubber material to bamboo is really tricky. For some reason, one axel worked great, but the other didn’t. ThisToThat.com suggested rubber cement, but it didn’t work at all. I decided to not worry about it for now, and instead work on the head of the robot.
When the stepper popped off the bottom of the robot was when I finally decided that perhaps powering the wheels is not a very good idea, and instead there should be something else that can move, like arms.
I also had in mind some funny looking leg things to have on the robot. To do this I had to drill some holes, which leads to this very scary photo:
Here are the funny looking leg things!
Now the steppers are mounted on the top of the base.
I love anthropomorphizing robots so much! These eyes are made from doorknobs. Definitely have to get some of these when I am back home!
Cleaned up my workstation because tomorrow is going to be an intense day. Before:
Here is a video of everything:
Tomorrow will be stressful to say the least. There is so much happening that I have no clue what to keep track of, except for trying my best to get something working. The robot needs arms tomorrow!
Today I mourned the loss of a poor LM293D. It is on its last legs as a chip, and tries its best but just doesn’t work reliably. Boohoo! This means that only one dual h-bridge will drive the two steppers, entailing no differential drive. Shucks!
Yesterday I thought that there probably wasn’t enough force to make the robot move. I now have a shimmer of hope that this may be false, because as I was supporting the robot on the ground tonight, it could move ever so slightly.
I have to think of the best way to disperse the mass of the chassis to outer casters/idlers. They can’t be too heavy, otherwise it would defeat the point. So maybe some sturdy wire (copper wire?), and gears from printers threaded through them!
I enjoy symmetry in the geometry in robots! It is the most simplistic way to create beauty. Plus, creating exact symmetry with junk is very rare because of the chance of having two of the same part is very rare. It just so happened that there were two of the same scanner, where these steppers came from!
Here is the robot on blocks so that I could experiment with changing the wires around to make one stepper move in the same direction as the other:
This is the electronics that is mounted on the board on the top:
The funniest part of the above photo is the heatsink which is mounted to the chip using electrical tape!
I worked today on making the wiring more reliable. Meaning, thicker and longer cable to the power supply (the robot will be wired) and feeding in the stepper wires through the board (had to drill the board ). It is kind of surprising how tricky it is to find good wire, with the right thickness. Eventually with enough scavenging you can find some though!
Here is a very quick video with nice music anyway:
Tomorrow will be interesting to see what will happen!
Today we started on making our exhibits! Everyones ideas are different, but they all share a common excitement in them! I don’t know exactly what I want to make still, but using wheels for a robot seems like a good place to start.
Many thanks to Todd and Niklas who helped me get started with the stepper motors! The way it works in this setup is that the Arduino pulses a LM293 dual h-bridge, which then uses a power supply with 3.3V and crazy ampage, then triggers the coils in the motor. Stepper motors are really cool, and very precise also!
I spent the whole afternoon in the wood shop trying things, mainly just playing with the dremel, creating parts for the robot chassis!
One of my highlights was learning how to use the drill press, thanks to Bill! Now I can cut many holes in wood really quickly!
Testing out the new pieces:
In the evening I spent some time filing the wheel supports so they would be somewhat more level.
The mounting was pretty simple with the large hot glue gun. I will later take this apart because of a construction oversight, haha.
Had to take the inner mount off momentarily to attach the wheel to the axel.
This grippy rubber stuff came from the little half wheels in the LaserWriter!
At last, a (wimpy) drive train!
It turns out that if even a mini amount of force is applied down on the wheel, it doesn’t spin. The belt slips, and not enough torque. This sucks, but perhaps this will turn into something better! Maybe the robot will be a “dead robot”, lying on its back with its wheels up, slowly spinning. There will be robot flies and worms attacking it, and its brains will be spread out all over. It is kind of sounding like a fun art piece! It will be interesting how I will add interactivity to it, if it is indeed going to be a “dead robot” instead of a working one.
Here is a video that I quickly whipped up!
For more info about what this is all about, check our ripworkshop.org!
Woooot I am in BANFF for a conference that is all about recycling, hacking things, intervening in obsoleteness, and open source! At the end of the conference I will hopefully make something that will be on exhibit somewhere. First, to find some great old MOTORS!
Two nights ago I opened up this giant LaserWriter:
It is really huge, there is even more goodies on the bottom underneath some of this:
Todd and Katherine were taking apart two scanners, and there were the stepper motors and gear boxes in them! Scanners used to use steppers a while ago, before they switched to DC motors with the encoder strip. The bronze mirror below the steppers was from the LaserWriter. Wow!
Here is the all-mighty gearbox from the LaserWriter!
There was one of these in there too, it spins really nicely. On the outside of the circle, are concave reflectors. It must have been a tool for reflecting the laser to where it needed to be!
And here is the laser!
Some of the junk I picked up at the junkyard was pretty cool. One of them was a lighthouse lamp!
There was also a ROOMBA! I can’t believe someone discarded a Roomba! The world is just so cruel against robots sometimes! I also found a tire that looked like a big gear, so I’ll probably use that as a base for the project.
Old doorknobs make great robot eyes too. They are silver with a hole in the middle, so I’ll probably put an LED in them, that will be really cool ^_^
I gave my talk today, here was the synopsis:
GREETINGS, HUMANS! Join us for an address by an honourary robot from the Three Laws Initiative, the government for all the robots. Following this address, Erin aka RobotGrrl will discuss RoboBrrd and mesh robots. You can ask questions during this talk by sending a Tweet with the hashtag #ripbanff, where a robot will speak them out loud.
Tomorrow we begin working on our things. I’m sketching out ideas, hoping that I’ll be able to drive some stepper motors with the ULN2308A that Niklas gave me (thank you!)