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“A wise robot once said to me through Serial.println- that robots teach us about ourselves.”

All posts in R.I.P. Banff

R.I.P. Workshop – Exhibition!

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!

R.I.P. Workshop – Final Day

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!

R.I.P. Workshop – Reconstructing

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:

And after!

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!