Name: Andy McKenzie
Member since: 2003-08-18 14:43:07
Last Login: 2005-02-09 03:04:35


Good day all, I enjoy all subjects dealing with robotics. I am an avionics technician and am presently studying industrial automation and robotics. I have put together some very basic robot kits (line followers)and have started my first "scratch built" robot, Phineus. I am starting out with a BS2 for Phineus. Phineus has also taught me my First Law of Robotics, "Never construct a robot that you can't lift by yourself!" Looking forward to hearing from you!

Recent blog entries by xutron

Good day all,

Phineus received a few more items over the last week or so. Newly added are a pair of wheel encoders, which will provide feedback to cure his tendency to "drift" slightly to the left (a problem with large pneumatic tires not sharing the same diameters).

The equipment bay was redesigned and will be comprised of a 22-inch; turret mounted tower, which will contain 6 - 7 X 5 X 3-inch aluminum project boxes. This is in keeping with the modular design of Phineus. The separate boxes will contain NAV, Arm control, Acoustic, etc... subsystems.

As Phineus is octagonal, he would require 8 acoustic sensors to "watch" his surroundings. I selected two large-scale hobby servos (275 oz-in) to drive two acoustic sensors. These are very large servos and I am slaving a fair size acoustic enclosure (2.5 X 4.25 X 1.25 inch), I eventually want to put to work my fourth semester computer interfacing class and have a 360 degree video sonar representation. The larger servos can dramatically increase the scanning rate! More importantly, I think it looks and sounds so much "cooler" (i.e. goose bump stuff) with these huge servos "whining" away ;-)

What is in a name? I decided long ago that my "budding creation" required a name. My wife kept referring to him as "it" or the "thing" in the basement. After all, we are all proud of the stuff, which we dream up in our heads and this would just not do. As a devote science fiction and fantasy fan, the movie "Jason and the Argonauts" immediately came to mind. Phineus was a seer and set Jason on the correct path to find the Golden Fleece. I think Phineus will send me on the correct path to home robotics.

This is a cool site! I enjoy reading about other members' impressive robots and talking about mine. When I talk about Phineus with my neighbors, their eyes go glassy and they talk about the weather.....Sigh.

Hi again,

Phineus is really starting to take shape. I designed the chassis to be modular and this makes it easier to incorporate design changes. I designed all his components using AutoCAD and take the files to a local company, which uses high pressure water to cut almost anything. The operating pressure of the cutting machine is 68K psi (.008 diameter cutting jet) and is capable of cutting up to 7-inch thick steel plate.

I have used ½ to 1/16-inch thick aluminum plate constructing Phineus, the ½ inch stock is for the drive support and arm support shoulder assemblies. Phineus is 22 inches wide (octagonal base) and 44 inches tall with the arm stowed. The arm is revolute coordinate based design and has a 25-inch reach.

Phineus uses differential drive with fully suspended fore and aft 4 inch casters. The drive wheels are almost 10-inch pneumatic wheels and the 12VDC motors use 2-stage gear reduction from approximately 2800 RPM to a final drive of 14 RPM (a torque monster!). I tested Phineus with a 200 lb. payload (me) and he had a speed of 9.5 inches per second (using no speed control....excellent autonomous speed) and each motor only consumed 700mA.

I have started to play with the BS2 and will be working on the acoustic sensors next.


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