Starting Tuesday, October 7th, our location for the weekly meetup has changed to Standard Pizza Company, 631 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806. Same time (6-8pm). Hope to see you there!
When the idea of making a robot becomes a feeling and you say to yourself, “I feel like making a robot!”… well, that’s when you need to get on down to our super-secret robot makerspace and exercise that emotion. That’s precisely what we’ve been doing these past couple of Saturday mornings. In this blog post I’ll attempt to put some words to those glorious feelings.
It was a hard Saturday morning of flies, dust, stiff rawhide gloves and rusty metal as far as the eye could see. We had just arrived at the BIMCO scrap metal yard. Avi lifted heavy metal things and looked at them, Ian spent time with tires, Tiffany supervised and I tried without success to convince the metal crusher guy that his shift was over and it is now my turn to operate that wonderful machinery. He wasn’t having it. Anyway, we found metal, we found lots of it, we bought some of it and we brought it back to headquarters.
We don’t have a real plan for making our self balancing robot (aka. DIY Segway for under $400) so we just started putting objects near each other in a configuration that we imagine to be the robot we want to make. Voila! It looks good to us and we are that much closer to our goal.
The robot chassis not only needs to withstand the forces of the two 280 watt motors we bought on ebay ($32.99/each) but it also needs to safely hold up a person. We started with a couple of pieces of extruded aluminum square t-channel bolted together and then doubled up up on some 6.25mm scrap to make 12.5mm end pieces on which to attach our wheelbarrow wheels, which we secured with big bolts and washers.
It was unclear where to drill our bolt holes so we cut a few slivers from the extruded aluminum square t-channel so we could make a pattern. Then Avi ate some watermelon.
Ian dreamt up a super-cool custom collar to hold the sprocket to the wheel. He then machined that piece into reality. Oak ply was relatively cheap and easier to work with then the scrap iron we were using so we cut it to fit and bolted it in place.
I refashioned the end pieces where the wheels attach. The frame seems to be holding up nicely sitting 20mm lower than before.
Avi brought his ol’school cathode ray tube oscilloscope to test the h-bridge circuit he designed to run the motors. With some perfboard, an electomagic degree, and some parts he went to work. Like the wizard from Fantasia, a flurry of soldering strokes and mystical utterances brought forth a whole universe of circuitry wonder.
I mostly just made sure we had some nutritious snacks and that the shop music was partial to my liking. Well, I think that’s about it. We’ve been robot making for the past few Saturday mornings and I can honestly say, “It feels good!” Stay tuned for phase II of robot evolution happening in our temporary robot makerspace in the basement of some guy’s house.
My sister recently built this sweet camping platform in the woods on my land, so I thought I’d show off her build. Most of the wood was scrounged from various construction dumpsters, and the metal roofing/gutter was purchased from the local metal recycling facility. Total cost for materials (not including tools) was under $100, & was constructed in about 8 hours.
Dimensions: 8′ x 10′, height ~3.5′ (back), 5.5′ (front)
Bill of Materials
- Primary Support Beams (2x) – 2×10, 10′ length (2x8s would be fine)
- Floor Joists (5x) - 2x8, 8′ length
- Flooring – 140′ of 1″ tongue & groove wood siding
- Roofing Metal - 6, 11′ sheets of roofing metal (total area 11′x12′)
- Metal Gutter – 12′ length
- Roofing supports (2x) – 2×4, 12′ length
- Rafters (7x) – 2×4, 11′ length
- Purlins – 72′ of pallet wood
- Posts – 2x 4×4, 8′ length (cut into 3′ and 5′ lengths)
- decking screws
- roofing screws
- caulk, ~1 tube
- stain, ~1 quart
While some of our members spent a good bit of time and money creating them, you can build your own in about 30 minutes, and for $5 or less.
Bill of Materials:
- 3 – pieces of 1/2″ PVC pipe (12″ each)
- 2 – 90deg elbows for 1/2″ PVC pipe
- 2 – small hose clamps
- 1 – 12″ section of bike (or similar) tubing
- 1 – 2-liter soda bottle (or similar)
- Flat head screw driver
- PVC cutters, or hack saw
Step 1: Measure out and cut your PVC pipe to the appropriate size (12″).
Step 3: Push the 12″ PVC lengths into the elbows (no PVC solvent or glue needed).
Step 4: Have fun!
Thanks to the ~40 folk that came out last night to our free Learn to Solder Workshop. It was such a success that we’ll probably run it again in a few months, so if you missed out, keep a look out on our calendar.
We had a vast variety in age range, and most had never soldered before (some of our volunteers had only learned a couple days before). Everyone was successful in assembling their soldering kits, and in an amazing effort by all of the organizers and volunteers to make sure safety was our number 1 priority, there were no accidental brandings!
Special thanks again to our two sponsors, Efficiency Lab and onHaywood.com, who made it possible for us to have this event be free and open to the public, and to all the volunteers that showed up to help teach and supervise.
WHAT: FREE “Learn to Solder” workshop for anyone interested in learning an important “Maker” skill. You’ll learn how to use a soldering iron to create a robot “badge” that has two blinking LED lights and is powered by a watch battery. You keep the robot badge you make!
WHO: Anyone can participate. Minors must have a parent or guardian present (and helping).
WHEN: Thursday March 20, 2014 from 7 pm to 9 pm
WHERE: West Asheville Library located at 942 Haywood Rd, Asheville, NC 28806
Well over 100 people showed up last Saturday to join us in building and launching paper rockets at the YMCA Youth Services Center (it was hard to keep count). Special thanks to Tom and Ian for all the work they did to make this happen, the YMCA for hosting us, and all of the parents who brought their kids out for a fabulous field day of flight and fun.