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Robot Fest 2010

Posted by Erica on Apr 25, 2010 in Making

Today the family and I went to Robot Fest, held at the National Electronics Museum. I had been looking forward to this for a long time, and I wasn’t disappointed. There were any number of fun displays and workshops, including in no particular order: compressed-air rocket launches, Lego robots to control and build, a vocoder […]

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A nice coasterbot surprise

Posted by Erica on Apr 20, 2010 in Making, Web and Computer

This morning, I got an e-mail from YouTube asking me to sign up for revenue sharing on my “popular video” of coasterbot folding. I didn’t think too much about this, because that was a 10 second video I shot one-handed. I hadn’t even bothered adding an audio track, or a link back here. The only […]

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Finishing up the coasterbot electronics (mostly)

Posted by Erica on Apr 20, 2010 in Electronics, Making

After building the Ardweeny, and modifying the servo motors, there was only one major bit of soldering left: the breadboard voltage regulator. The Ardweeny requires an input voltage of exactly 5V, a common requirement for many chips. This is solved by using a voltage regulator. This is available as a simple component ($1.59 from RadioShack) […]

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Spinning our wheels

Posted by Erica on Apr 17, 2010 in Electronics, Making

We need a way to make the coasterbot move, and without getting too exotic, this means adding some wheels. And some motors to make them turn. The Jameco bundle includes two Hitech HS-322HD servo motors. Once again, this was all new to me, so I did some reading. Servo motors are used to precisely position […]

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Ardweeny adventures, part two

Posted by Erica on Apr 16, 2010 in Electronics, Making

I have a working Ardweeny! The Solarbotics replacement kit arrived this afternoon. I assembled it as before, with a few differences. The male programming headers were put in with the proper orientation. And I decided to test the Ardweeny without soldering the chip in at first — the pressure of the outer pins holds it […]

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Ardweeny adventures, part one

Posted by Erica on Apr 16, 2010 in Electronics, Making

The┬áparts bundle for the coasterbot includes a microcontroller to act as the brain of the robot. It is an Ardweeny, made by Solarbotics. Billed as the “smallest, handiest, bread-board friendly Arduino-compatible”, it literally fits on the back of the ATMega328 chip. It’s a pretty cool design, and incredibly small, as you can see in the […]

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Constructing the DVD chassis

Posted by Erica on Apr 14, 2010 in Electronics, Making

I was pleasantly surprised to find that my blog of the coasterbot build has been featured in MAKE: Robot Build Dispatch #5. Fortunately I have been working on the bot, so I can add some new material. For this installment I’ll continue discussing the chassis design. As described in an earlier post, I want to […]

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Testing coasterbot construction ideas

Posted by Erica on Apr 11, 2010 in Making

The definining feature of a coasterbot is that its chassis relies on CDs or DVDs. Most of the ideas uploaded to the MAKE flickr coasterbot pool have a robot with one CD, or two of them stacked vertically. There is a good reason for this. A small footprint allows for a more agile robot, and […]

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Entering the MAKE coasterbot contest

Posted by Erica on Apr 7, 2010 in Making

MAKE Magazine has created a contest to make a coaster bot. The basic rules are pretty simple: ┬áContestants will build “CoasterBots,” mini robot development platforms, made using CD/DVD media as the main body components (“coaster” being slang for a dead/damaged CD/DVD). Your goal is to create a CoasterBot that can navigate a space on its […]

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