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CHIBOTS MEETING: APRIL 8, 2001
Not a bad crowd for a beautiful spring day.
(Click the picture above to see a movie of a typical open discussion.)
Portions of the meeting follow a formal agenda. But, the first 15 minutes of the meeting are informal discussion and greeting. The meetings always end with show-and-tell, live demonstrations, parts swapping, and smaller-group conversations.
This particular meeting was probably the best ever. Plenty of people attended. There were lots of parts, projects, and robots for viewing. And Joe Fao premiered the hands-on tutorial segment.
Hands-On Tutorial: Modifying Servo Motors
Joe Fao (center -- arms crossed) set the tone for tutorial presenters to follow. He was friendly and personable. The routine was well prepared and he welcomed questions throughout.
Joe brought his laptop with visuals and notes. He passed around lots of examples of servos. He handed out color documentation of servo parts and modification steps.
Joe recruited Brian Schwartz (left -- sitting) from the audience. Brian was instructed on how to modify the servo for continuous rotation.
Joe's Critter-Crunch robot, Pokey, runs on a pair of servos. The drive portion was passed around for closer examination. It was nice to see the educational atmosphere (right) that Joe's presentation established.
Everyone was very impressed with the tutorial. Not surprisingly, Joe received a hardy round of applause!
Jim's Solar Armada
At the other end of the room, Jim Munro made his collection of BEAM robots available. Even under the dim lighting of a single lamp, the robots hopped, spun, and popped.
If you look closely at the picture on the right (above), the red robot just happened to pop. A close-up of the red robot appears below.
Pictured on the above right, a robot with fairly effective collision detectors. It is possible to see the switch-contact bracket between the red LED and the cadmium-sulfide photocell at the far lower-left (and far upper-right) of the picture.
The front of the robot rests atop an arc of guitar wire. The wire is perfectly suited for robotics. It's readily available, consistent quality, with a firm-yet-springy characteristic.
Roller-ball robots are entirely encased within a clear, plastic sphere. They rotate around an axis within the ball. The subsequent change in balance causes the ball to shift to a new position.
Notice the brass motor shafts are connected to the clear, spherical shell with suction cups. This roller has a rare set of handmade gearboxes from Dave Hrynkiw of Solarbotics.
(Click the picture on the right to see a larger view of the bells and thumbtack feet.)
Jim put together a great variety of solar-powered robots. The bot pictured at left spins in a triangular motion due to a center motor surrounded by three capacitors.
On the right, a bell-jingling robot triggers on a FLED-engine (flashing LED). The thumbtack feet were soldered onto paper-clip legs using a special multi-core solder.
Despite not having a microcontroller or custom logic, this walking robot worked well. Because of the servos and physical effort required in moving, it isn't solar powered.
(Click any of the four pictures above to see movies.)
The movies above give a really good sense for the life Jim has sculpted.
(Click the picture on the right to see a larger view of the flag, specifically the guitar-string pole.)
This flag is a nice touch. Again, notice the use of guitar string.
It's difficult to tell scale, but this is a very small motor and gearbox. The gearbox ships covered with plastic, which Jim stripped off for display purposes. Sorry, the retail source is out of stock.
Jim found some nice hard-plastic 9 V battery snaps at Radio Shack. Anyone who's ripped up a standard thin-coated or cardboard flexible snap will appreciate these.
Critter Crunch Spinner
Mike Bakula is prototyping a spinning robot. He's borrowing heavily from the slot car racing hobby, with good results. The bottom portion of the robot (right photo) contains two halves of a colorful ping-pong ball for balance.
The individual motors and gears (photo below) are very fast, yet weigh only 1.9 ounces each.
John Orlando is planning on entering ChiBots' line following contest. He ran across some small Maxon gearhead motors at Marlin P. Jones & Assoc. Inc. (part #12810 MD). For a size comparison, notice the keys atop the photograph. Better order quickly, the Maxon motors aren't likely to be available for long.
(Click the picture on the right to see a larger view)
Autonomous Handy-Board Robot with IR Remote Control
Marcin T. Polewski demonstrated a fantastic robot based on a Handy Board. It has a Motorola 68HC11 processor, servos, light sensors, floor sensors, and an IR input.
The IR input is a definite asset as he programmed it to accept commands from a universal remote control. The robot moved smoothly as he stepped through various motions via a Sony-protocol modulated IR signal.
A great robot!
Vice-president and Treasurer, Jim Fiocca, created official membership certificates for all that pay their 2001 dues. Membership is $20 for the calendar year, which incorporates the individual and their entire family. Voting privileges and free contest entry, as well as pride of support, come with the membership.
Don't worry, all ChiBots events and meetings are open to everyone; no membership is required.
All Welcome! Please come to a future meeting... and bring a robot.
ChiBots Meeting Minutes for Sunday, April 8, 2001
by David Wooden
1. Members present at the meeting
John Patrick, President
Jim Fiocca, Vice President / Treasurer
David Wooden, Secretary
David Cook, Webmaster
James H. Fisher
(Marcin Polewski introduced himself later during the Show and Tell section.)
4. Old Business
A. Collect dues
Jim Fiocca is collecting the $20.00 annual dues. Paid members can enter contests and vote in elections. Everyone is always welcome at the meetings, free of charge.
B. Line following & Sumo Contest
David Cook has created an Illustrated Guide to American Robot Sumo Rules and posted it on the website. The first Line Following Demonstration / Trials will be held at the next monthly meeting on May 20.
C. Critter Crunch Video
The Critter Crunch video was not shown due to lack of equipment, lack of video and lack of time.
We will be hosting the next Critter Crunch event, to be held at the DucKon Convention on May 19 at the Lisle Hyatt Regency Hotel. More information about the convention is available at www.duckon.org. Joe Fao is coordinating the event and has arranged a reduced rate for Critter Crunch participants. Let Joe know if you would like to attend, as he needs to know ahead of time in order to get the reduced rate. Email him directly at Clockwork_Chaos@hotmail.com. The event will run for about 1 1/2 hours. There are two classes: 2 lb. and 20 lb. The robots face each other in an 8-foot by 8-foot arena. The rules are available at www.ccm.net/~jfao/DucKon/CritterCrunchRules.html.
5. New Business
Tom Gralewicz suggested a ChiBots T-shirt, and offered to have the shirts made. A new logo is needed for ChiBots. Submissions are being accepted. The winner will get a free T-shirt and a set of small tank-track drives such as those used on Tomís Critter Crunch robot.
6. Technical Presentation: Servo Modification, given by Joe Fao
The focus of this presentation was the modification of servos in order to provide continuous rotation. This involves disassembling the servo, removing physical stops, inserting a fixed resistor (trimmer pot) in place of the feedback pot, and reassembly. Joe brought in three different makes of servos: Hitec, Airtronic and Futaba. Brian Schwartz performed the modification of the Hitec servo at Joeís direction.
7. Show and Tell
Jim Munro brought in several B.E.A.M. robots. These are small solar powered devices that follow light. Jim also had his Firefighting robot on hand.
David Cook and Brian Schwartz showed the Tachometer / Temperature board that David designed for Brianís battle robot.
Marcin Polewski showed his Line Follower made from Lego parts and the Handy Board controller. The robot could be controlled by a TV Remote control.
Mike Bakula - showed a 2 lb. Spinning robot for Critter Crunch using slot car motors.
John Orlando pointed out the availability of several gear motors.
Tom Gralewicz showed some NiCd battery packs and PIC chips.
John Patrick brought in one side of the drive train of Fusion, his heavyweight battle robot.
Following the close of the meeting was the usual talk, swapping and some 2 lb. Critter action.