Robotic Labyrinth Build – Day 6

1.27.2009 (Tuesday) –  Day 6  –

Top 40 Arduino Projects

Top 40 Arduino Projects

I found another web site linking to the wooden robotic labyrinth project. They seem to like our project. Ranked at 14 in their top 40 projects and only a week after the YouTube Video was uploaded.

Source Code Progress

Jestin was called out of town this week for a meeting at his company but reported in with his progress,

Thought I’d write a quick update from my end.

Since I got called out of town, I haven’t been able to put a lot of time into the project since Thursday. I have updated the code that runs the labywiinth so that it now can use a regular wii remote instead of the balance board. It doesn’t seem as fun, but it’s something we talked about and it didn’t take much effort. For both wii devices, I have added the ability to zero it by pressing the A button (only button on the balance board). This will set whatever the device currently reads to turn the servos to 90/90. The next step will be to create some main runtime loop (probably in shell scripting) that will call this program, or an auto-run program, or a remote/network control program depending on whether or not someone hits the “Play” button on the display. Ideas are still needed here.

I have not yet decided what device all this code will run on, but I have received numerous suggestions from the CCCKC mailing list. People there also have experience with the devices they are suggesting, so I’ll probably be able to go to them for help if I get stuck. If anyone has any preferences, let me know.

On a different front, Will Holtorf who was at the CCCKC meeting Thursday has told me he wants to help the group. I have added him in the CC section of this email. I’m not sure what exactly he brings to the table, but I think we can use all the help we can get if we want to hit our deadline. Perhaps he can tell us all what his areas of interest/expertise are.

Though we don’t have much to show yet, I think we are getting off to a good start.

Jestin added more information to his blog. Check out his LabyWiinth Update here

Labyrinth Game Platform Update

We have an interesting variety of technological challenges. Materials science is something we’re dealing with on our game platform surface. We’re aware of the need to be able to gain proper adhesion between similar and dissimilar materials. Bob and I are working on getting a meeting set up to discuss this with a rep from 3M Aerospace Adhesives to identify the best adhesives to use in our case using readily available building materials.

Platform Mechatronics

We talked about using four stepper motors on Saturday. One of my concerns is about about the binding. The last concept we discussed was using three motors offset in a triangular pattern from the center. Tom has expressed some concern about using a universal joint as a gimbal in the center also causing some problems with binding.

I like the two motor approach and it was my first thought but I don’t have experience at sizing the motor and didn’t know how much your motor controllers would be able to drive.

I think the triangular approach could be doable but would make the software side more complicated. I like the two motors along an X and Y axis but wonder if the motors we have will be big enough.

I need to get some new estimates on the weight of the game platform.

Terry’s Perspective:

I was thinking about the motors last night. If we use four motors and assume each pair is in lockstep. If something happens and the steppers get out of sync (maybe by manually moving the table or dirt in the mechanism) there will be a torsion set up between the pair of motors. Depending on the mechanism you chose this torsion could be enough to freeze movement.

The problem is eliminated if we use two motors instead of four.

Jestin had to miss the meeting on Saturday and wasn’t aware of this discussion until today (pretty good reason to keep the blog up to date).

I didn’t even know that more than 2 motors was even an option. So long as the motors are powerful enough, I say 2 axis = 2 motors. It would also look nice if the game actually looks like a regular labyrinth. The only reason I can see adding more motors is if we are unable to move the maze quickly enough (or at all). If we want to complete the project on time, I think simplicity is key. The less we have to worry about keeping motors synced in lockstep, the better.

Jestin added this comment later today:

Truthfully, it doesn’t matter that much to me how many motors we use. We have discussed a protocol, and that’s what protocols are good for; not knowing or caring how the other parts work. I like to think that my lack of knowledge about the design is more attributed to good planning rather than not poor communication.

Game Base Update

Tom is keeping us up to date on his progress with the game’s base portion:

Ok, another update from me on the project base. I talked with Jay Lind today, he’s is the coordinator for the metalsmith union training shop in Raytown. He has agreed to take my design (our design…), set it up in Autocad, verify it w/ us & use the training shop to fab / weld up the design for us. He has given permission to let Vince come along & take pictures / video of the whole process as well. He is going to get the metal cost estimates for use prior to the build, but he believes that the cost will be minimal. They have a cad driven plasma table to use to fabing the plates we need, so no water jet time for us. Since part of there job is community service, all the time from them will be ‘Free’. I can put up $500.00 for the metal & parts for the table base.

We need some kind of contact to get this thing powder coated as well, it will make for a nice pro finish to the product as well. So in the next day we will be passing around the dxf files, along w/ scanned print outs.

I also talked to the bearing guy today & what we want is $400.00. So they sugessted a large ball joint from a 70 series chrysler / dodge truck. You can still get these new. I will be trying to look into that tomorrow & get some pictures posted.

I also need some input on power supply / distribution for the table as well. I have designed in a lot of mounting points on the table base, but need help with what and how much we need. So any help with that please.

Looking into the I2C stuff for communications on the micro network we talked about, thats how I remembered power? what power??

Signing off. (I have a Ham call sign some where…)

Team Member Focus

We have a number of volunteers helping with the project. I received this email from a new member to our team from the CCCKC group: Will Holtorf

I have a strong science background, mostly physics and chemistry,currently I support Navy and Marine Corps VIPs on the NMCI network for all remote sites in the continental US, I am pretty good at manual labor, I can lift heavy things, I can help build, solder, I would not mind learning to weld, whatever you got.

I cannot bring the level of expertise that you guys can on specific areas, but I can ask pretty intelligent questions. Also, I want to stop dragging my butt and add content to my science website, and I would not mind documenting the construction with photos and whatnot… Oh yes, I am a photographer, most of my paid work has been for real estate, but I would love to shoot the work you guys do.

Read on, check out: Day[7] = 1.27.2009
Yesterday, check out: Day[5] = 1.26.2009
Or start from the beginning: Day[0] = 1.21.2009

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2 Responses

  1. […] on, check out: Day[6] = 1.27.2009 Yesterday, check out: Day[4] = 1.25.2009 Or start from the beginning: Day[0] = 1.21.2009 […]

  2. […] on, check out: Day[8] = 1.29.2009 Yesterday, check out: Day[6] = 1.27.2009 Or start from the beginning: Day[0] = 1.21.2009 […]

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