Friday, November 30, 2012

The Robot Dragster Project-Chapter One

For the Advanced Robotics class this year I decided we would build a robot dragster.

It fulfilled my criteria for this class in that it seemed like a fun project and was one that so far as I can determine has never been attempted with middle school kids.

When you google the term "robot dragster" you certainly find some things, but these are mostly just little RC car based projects or in some cases science class stuff with rubber binders, small CO2 cartridges and so forth.
For goodness sakes, it has wheels made of CDs...

Talk about wimpy.

Surveying the inventory in my Secret Underground Workshop I find quite a few useful components.  Motors of 12 to 24 volt capacity and in various sizes.  Solenoids for switching higher voltages.  Wheels, linear actuators, scrap metal and wood.

So our mission will be to build one or more machines at the upper limits of what we can handle for storage space.  I am thinking about coffee table sized and in the 40 to 60 pound range.  I can see some merits to 12 volt and 24 volt systems, so we will probably build one of each.

The goal is to have one or both operational by mid February, and to then take it out and test it with the local police department on hand with a speed gun.

I will be very disappointed with my minions if they are not able to break the on street speed limit of 25 miles per hour.  But I can see some pesky, pesky engineering challenges that the lads (no girls in the class this time, alas) will have to overcome first.

Hopefully I can post at least a warning ticket made out to the Voyagers Program shortly thereafter!

Stay tuned, updates about once a week, usually on Friday.  Sometimes twice a week when circumstances demand it.  A week off here and there for Santa and the like.

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