Friday, February 24, 2012

Middle School Robotics Project-Chapter Three

Spring approaches, and it seems as if the robotics classes are more chaotic now.  The kids are still getting a fair amount done, and some are quite good at independent work.  But the noise level and the need to put the kibosh on middle school goofing around are both higher than ideal.  So my photos are going to seem a bit haphazard today.

This project is going to have a semi-humanoid final look.  So I thought we would try having the machine pivot at the "waist" between two modules.  This is a low speed, high torque gear motor that I got in a bulk lot.  It was off some kind of automation machinery.  The big silver gear on the top is one of many, many parts I have been using from an elaborate power wheelchair that I was given years ago for robotic parts.  I told the good folks that donated it that my robotics projects are sort of like the Native Americans and the buffalo....eventually we find a way to use everything from the snout to the tail.

The upper module of the swivel section...

Upper and lower modules of the swivel section.  The gear motor will drive a pulley attached to the bottom of the upper section.  You will note a lot of two by four sections in use.  These are scrapped from an earlier incarnation of the small robot arena....I have been keeping them around for ten years looking for a use!  One of the things that slows our progress of late is that we have no shop access.  The only power saw I trust middle schoolers with is wimpy enough that cutting two by fours with some precision is a slow process.

An M&M dispensing device.  Solid work by a student who can build things without my constant supervision.  I did help with the testing.  As reliability is important this needs to be done until I have had enough M&Ms.  More on this in the weeks to come.
You need somebody who can look at the above and see circuits instead of spaghetti.  I am lucky this time to have two lads who appear capable at wiring the electronics.  At least they can figure out when things do not work, and that is the first step to understanding why they don't.  Here is one of my electronics guys down in the guts of the drive module.  One speed controller for each side of wheels, with the third one for the swivel motor. 

Off next week for spring break.  Three more official sessions to go before "show time".


Gunther said...

Wow, It looks like you are all off to a great start. I will be interested to see how this all ends up. I always enjoyed the idea of building a humanoid robot from scratch and your project reminds me a lot of the earlier days of a robot that I am still working on. My blog is at

If you need any technical assistance with anything feel free to ask.

Tacitus2 said...


Way cool. I guess we could program some autonomous stuff into our project, it routes the speed controllers through two Vex microprocessors. But while that might be a little difficult for sixth graders it would be more than a little difficult for me!

Really we are operating with such a minimal amount of work time, budget and shop availability....but the striving teaches more than if we just had everything handed to us.

A few more updates over March then hopefully some video in early April.

What exactly does salviusbot do?


Robotic Parts said...

Thanks for providing this useful information.Including some program which can give us some good result can always be included in such a project.

Tacitus2 said...

And welcome you are, although I find your syntax more consistent with Chinese hacker spambots than with humanoid speech! I discourage clicking on the Robotics Parts links.....