Archive for July 20th, 2011

Day 12: Wednesday, 7/20

by on Jul.20, 2011, under Week 3

More construction today.  Dean spent the day learning how to setup and use the dc motor encoders so that he could get two motors to travel at constant speed, rather than power, allowing a robot to drive forward in a straight line.  In the end, he succeeded, getting a test robot I built to travel 20 feet down the hall whilst only drifting to the side an inch or two.  The Axel Rover base was fully finished, but there will probably still be future modifications.  Lawrence went to the machine shop and with Jim’s guidance custom machined a piece to mount the fishing spool to a motor.  Sarah and Briyana built a door for their robot that would (theoretically) be opened and closed by two synched servos.  In the end however those servos were too weak to properly open the door, so an encoder-equipped motor was used instead.  Also, I constructed kits for the middle school students; both an activity for the Axel Rover and for the Carrier bot.  For the Axel Rover, I made six kits (A -> F) that each had a motor and NXT, who’s goal would be to drive forward, backward, and travel over objects.  However, the pieces I provided in each kit did not include wheels, so the students would need to make a walking/crawling robot.  The code for it is a simple move forward/backward when the right/left NXT button is pressed, until the middle NXT button is pressed.  For the Carrier bot activity, I started set up four kits with instruction manual and the pieces to build a simple light-sensor controlled robot. -Nicolas

Daily Thoughts:

Dean: Started building the robot for iPad control.  Learned how to use encoders/program using encoders for dc motors.  Frustrating at times.

Lawrence: Today we continued reconstructing our NASA Axel Rover. We have the rover completely built that we know of. Our program for running the rover is not working for some reason and also the servo program isn’t working. We believe it is our wiring but we are not sure so we are going to check it tomorrow because we are out of time. Also me and Nick organized kits for the middle school kids for our presentation coming up. The kits are so that the kids can make smaller and easier robots out of Lego Mindstorms.

Jess: On this morning it seemed somewhat crazy that we had to have completely finished demos for the next Monday. Then I realized that the robot was basically done and I had a six hour period in which to work solely on the robot. Indeed, it turned out that the robot came along rather successfully. It even had a part custom made for it. We solved a lot of problems as far as actual physical construction. When it came to programming, that undid basically everything (in some cases, literally). We couldn’t figure out how to sync the servos, so I undid the zip ties that held all of the electrical parts together, undid all of the connections, and still solved none of the problems, but did succeed in losing my perfect, original configuration.

Briyana: Constructing a door and motorizing it to be a ramp (similar to draw bridge) for the mini robots to deploy from. Servo motor ended up not being strong enough so we switched to DC motors and used encoders instead.

Sarah: We are working on the door for our robot.

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