Older blog entries for Frank McNeill (starting at number 0)

Spent, or misspent most of the afternoon trying to set up a Yahoo freebie website that went well until I tried to upload a file to it and caused my little iMac to freeze. Restarted and went through the same drill several times with the same results‧' f r e e z e and r e s t a r t. Talk about the frustrum of a cone, which is nothing compared to the frustrum of a conehead like me.

I couldn't even find a delete button to dispose of the wreckage which is probably floating around on a server somewhere as an electronic Sargasso Sea crowded with abandoned and broken websites.

I wanted to put up several files with sketches and descriptions of notions I've come up with over the years but wasn't able to do this today. Meanwhile anybody that would like to see sketches, etc. of an "improved Lego brick" with a positive attachment feature and several versions of a gearmotor based on the motion of a wobbling coin can either ask for a file that could be sent as an e-mail attachment, or sign onto of beam robotics at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/beam/ in order to go to the files section for one titled buglegz.pdf with stuff about a mechanism cobbled together from a "Swedish wheel" and a smiley face for generation of a "D" shaped path to drive various pantograph linkages for articulated legs that could be driven by a reversible gearmotor. Two reversible gearmotors could drive four, six, eight or more legs per side.

There is also a "leg path generation.jpg" schematic that was added as an after thought: and a "good vibrations.pdf" that's mostly about stuff batted back and forth by David Pearce, a piezoelectrics whizz kid who was a research scientist at University of Birmingham when the exchange began and a product development guy at 1Limited, a development and licensing company until David decided to leave and pursue another career. Some of the helimorph-based products David helped develop will eventually become stuff that can be picked over for the construction of piezo-junkbots.

Meanwhile, I hope somebody will develop a small driver for Elliptec resonating motors that could be used in kits based on the use of improved Lego brick things described in a file with sketches and descriptions of wobbler gearmotors with the title "wobblers.pdf" There's also stuff about an articulated arm that could be driven by three gearmotors, servos or hydraulic rotary actuators and some other stuff that somebody might have a use for.

I tried to stir up interest amongst the beamsters in notions for hotbotics devices based on equipping little metal "pop-pop" boats with servos for rudder control. These little boats sold for a buck or less before WW2 when I was still a kid, but seem to have disappeared during the war, or shortly afterwards.

There are still a few shops in India and China that make them and several dealers in the US and elsewhere that peddle them if anybody wants to buy one. One possibility would be to use a thermoelectric generator instead of a battery. I will put some sketches and descriptions together for anybody that is interested in notions for little metal steamboats that might be rigged for robotic or R/C control.

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