Older blog entries for egoo76 (starting at number 12)

Well, I am moving in a couple of weeks. That being said, I will have little to no time to work on my bot. I am hoping that when I get settled down again I will be able to start hitting it harder then I have been. I have been working on a new bot though. I am putting my biped on hold to complete this one. It is a tread bot, and man does it have mobility! I managed to salvage one of my son's toys, an old battery operated tank. It made a lot of sounds and moved back and forth when the 'cannon' was fired. That is all it did, wiggle back and forth. So when he had torn it up to the point I could take it without any guilt =) I jumped on it. After cracking it open I found a dual motor system that was tied together to provide forward/backward movement. I unsoldered those connections and made some new ones that provide forward/backward, left/right. I am making the H-Bridges now. I also modified the body to let it climb better. Before I did this the body stuck out past the treads, so it would not climb anything taller then itself. Now, man does it grab a hold and go! I must say that I am normally a big proponent of fabrication, and I do not like to take toys apart to make robots. I see it a lot and it works for some people, I am just not one of those people.....until now!!! Man, it is a lot easier. Anyway I will slap some sensors on it, maybe an arm, and put a STAMP for a brain. I would like to make this thing to have a deliberate purpose (like fire detection/fighting, etc.)But I haven't decided yet. I will start back on my biped later this year or at the start of '06. I would like to purchase a metal mill and a metal lathe along with an o-scope before then, but we will see. I am relocating to the Portland, OR Metro area later this year (end of Nov.) and I am looking forward to joining up with some groups up there. I'll right soon.

---Ev---

I am back home! I am so happy to be with my family again, it has been almost 5 months! My kids have changed so much, it is crazy. Well, part of my robot got smashed on the road trip home, so I will have to do repairs. I am also rearranging my work shop to allow for more room. I am not sure how much quality time I will be able to spend on completing my robot since I am moving in about 3 months and I have got a 76' Westy I need to get up and running. But I will put an honest effort into getting some results. Will post later.

---Ev---

I passed my test! What a releif it is to be done studying, at least for a little while. Next I think I will look at either a design certification or the dreaded Microsoft Certs. But not for at least a couple weeks to a month. I am very happy to finally have my CCNA!

I will do some work on my robot this weekend, I have spent to much time away from working on it. Hopefully once I get back home I can start to put together a web site and post some pic's of what I have got so far. I would also like to start some sort of forum so I could get feed back about things.

Well like I said I am going to work on finishing the leg structure and mobility systems. Then I can start on the hip and the other leg and finish up with the sensors and CPU.

---Ev---

20 Apr 2005 (updated 22 Apr 2005 at 14:15 UTC) »

Well I take my CCNA tomorrow and what a relief it will be to get this out of the way. That is as long as I pass the darn thing! I took the test a couple of weeks ago and failed, so I figured I shouldn't let all that study time go to waste and rescheduled to take it again. I slacked a bit the first week but I have really been hitting it hard now. I love computer networking but I will be glad to get a break from the intricacies I have to study. I was pretty disappointed after failing the first time, I put in a lot of work, but I found that I was focused on totally different areas than what I should have been. I am really tired today, I was up most of the night cramming and I am sure I will be up most of the night tonight too.

During my little breaks I have been thinking about new robot designs and concepts. I am hoping to get back into my robot by next week (if I pass my test I am going to brain dump over the weekend, play pool and drink) and work some more on the lower leg, ankle, and foot assembly. I will update Friday on how I did, I doubt anybody is actually looking at this, but it helps me to relieve a little stress blurting it out.

----Ev----

Well, I haven't been working on my robot at all since the middle of March. I have been busy studying for my CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) and looking for houses. I am getting out of the military soon and I am a little nervous. As soon as I pass the test I will put some time back in to my robot. I have actually been feeling guilty about not working on it. Spring break is finally over here (which is good and bad) in Florida and I don't have much longer before I can go back to my family. I miss them very much. I can talk to them everyday and this is much better then being in the Desert! Well, I wanted to post something so it didn't look like I had fallen off the site.

---Ev---

9 Mar 2005 (updated 15 Mar 2005 at 14:03 UTC) »

I recieved the BASIC Stamp 2 OEM kit today and I am very excited! It only took a week to get here from Parallex with standard ground shipping. So I paid $36 and some change total. As I said before this is a kit that needs to be soldered, but I like to solder so no big deal. This will be the brain for my biped. I have been wondering about what type of soldering iron I should used (AC or Butane) to assemble the board. I figure that AC will be okay because I do not actually solder any of the chips, only the sockets. Besides, I have not done any fine soldering with my Butane torch/soldering iron.

I generally use the torch for soldering the frame on my robot. Their is quite a learning curve involved in the way I have chosen to assemble this thing, but I am slowly advancing.

I have been using metal clothes hangers for the frame, thread-all for the shafts, and various nuts and bolts. I cut the hangers into their three straight pieces and sand off the enamel. If I need to bend it I heat the metal up with my torch. It works really well but it is very time consuming. I chose this method because it is cheap, and that is really the only reason.

I have decided to use an empty tin coffee can for the 'body'. I have not decided if I am going to integrate arms into the design yet, probably not on this bot. I have also been working on the balance issue when the bot steps forward. I have come up with a sub structure in the 'calf' portion that will tilt on an axis further up the leg rather than having it tilt at the ankle. I'll keep it up and write later.

---Ev----

Well it has been a while since I posted an entery, so here it goes. I have been working a lot and getting much accomplished. I have the entire left leg frame built and the knee mechanics done. I still need to finish the foot and ankle mechanics. I have been working on the foot mechanics these past couple of days. I have decided to use a standard dc motor and reduce the speed with a dual worm gear configuration. I am pondering whether or not to use a stepper motor for the ankle or not. I probably will since that is what will actually turn the 'bot. I recently purchased some more gears and IC's from Nelnick.com, I specifically ordered a stepper motor controller. I have never used a stepper motor before let alone a motor controller IC, but it looks very interesting. I also purchased a STAMP 2 OEM kit today for only $30.00! It requires some soldering but that isn't to bad for the price. I have been looking at how many I/O's it will take to controll just the walking mechanics and it looks like a lot. I still need to add feed back and sensors too. So I have decided to construct several sub-systems to control most of the walking funtions and free up some I/O ports. We will see how that goes. I still need to consider power requirements and run time. Well, I will keep it up and write again.

I finally got a BASIC STAMP kit, it comes with a BS2 soldered to a 'Homework' board, which is a pc board with a small breadboard, associated MC circuitry, 9v plug, and a serial port. It also comes with several loose items: resistors, a transistor, a potentiometer IC chip, a servo, LEDs, pushbuttons, potentiometer, Cds Cell, and a small piezo element. On top of that it came with a CD full of stuff and a several hundred page book! I paid arount $90 for the kit which I bought from Radio Shack, and I am very satisfied indeed.

I am amazed at how easy it is to use, especially the programming portion. I hope to soon make my way through the instruction book and then begin to write a program for my robot. In the mean time I will of course experiment with different motor and sensory functions that are not included in the kit.

I am really no closer to completion with my robot mechanically. I am in a small room with thin walls and a tiny desk. But, I have been getting a feel for the atmosphere around the area and it seems pretty relaxed. I should be able to pull out some tools soon and begin working away! Finding time is another problem, I work longer hours here then at my home station. Well, I will update things as I go along. Oh yeah, still no internet in my room.

Well, I finally made it to my deployed location. I am in Florida for four months, not to shabby in my opinion. I currently don't have internet access for my leasure, so I am stuck trying to grab it when I can. I have been working on a couple things. I just recently scrapped my older legs and began working on a new pair. I changed the drive gear and the way it is set up. It looks much cleaner. I also found a BASIC STAMP project kit including a breadboard and some parts, but I don't have the money yet. I am going to be changing lodging locations soon, so hopefully I can get internet then. I really want to start publishing things on my web page. I need some feed back and suggestions. Until next time, keep coming until you get where you're going.

Well I have not been very busy working on my robot. I am leaving tomorrow for four months, so I don't know how much time I will have to work. Like I said I am in the military and periodically we have to go places to work and support operations. I am hoping that I will have opportunities to at least experiment with some of the electrical components. I am pretty sure fabricating anything will be out. Anyway I am still working on learning BASIC and creating a web site, but it is pretty slow.

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