Posts tagged: robots

May 18 2010

Buster: A lucky find

Currently got a bunch of things on order, and a nicely full order book. Hurrah.

Yesterday though I spotted something outside a local charity shop. A Fisher Price ride-on electric car.

When I was a child, I used to get a book out from the library over and over again. “Build your own working robot” by David L. Heiserman, published 1976 (ISBN 0-8306-6841-1). The hardback, it was bright orange and missing it’s dust cover. I read and re-read it, fascinated by the diagrams that were inexplicable yet tangibly logical. I must have been 8 at the time.
I wanted my parents to get me a pair of those electric kids cars just so I could make the robot in it; Buster.
At £100 each though, that never happened. And one day some git took the book out and never returned it. I was gutted for a long time.

Last year though, I found a paperback copy on Amazon. And now, for £3 I have the perfect electric car to do it.

After 21 years, I can finally build my own Buster. I have the chance to fulfil a childhood ambition.

I, of course, will blog it. :)

The tech involved is pretty crude by modern standards, being started in the mid 70s. I’m sure it’d be easier to redesign it with modern parts. But I’m going to see how closely I can do it to the original book. Wooden PCB racks, reed-switches and all.

[20/06/2010: Amalgamating old posts from “Dreamwidth Creative Blog” into to re-purpose DW blog account.]

Apr 22 2010

Get angry and build robots. Part 2.

More tinkering today.

Pulled the frame apart and flipped it over to give the motors more ground clearance and enough space for a trailing castor.
Rather than cut up the push-scooter bearing tubes, I made a new longer one from a piece of old vacuum cleaner nossle and bolted it into the clamp from an old satellite dish mount. That gave me some bolt holes and nice steel plate to attach some more scrap 1″ box section to as an angle-block. Another couple of bits of smaller box-section went on top again to provide rigidity.

I’ve run out of M6 bolts now though, so will have to get some. Studding would probably be better though.
The motor assemblies were already made up, so it’s really only the frame that’s the product of the last couple of days.

The motors look a little wonky because they’re not bolted down properly. Neither are the bearing-blocks, which’ll need three more M10 carriage bolts. Probably want to put some fibre washers between the motor mounts and frame to help prevent damage to the aluminium gearbox housings.

Here it is with the existing battery box roughly in place.

It’s a large box because it contains a commercial van battery (12v, Lead-acid), as well as positive and negative bus-bars, keyswitch, automotive fuse panel and emergency-stop button on the rear hatch.
May had a high-current plug to it too to allow it to provide jump-starts. If I find one of them laying about anyway.

No motor controllers as yet. I still need to test the stall current of the motors (12v, 180Watt, ~220rpm geared).
Wheels are ten-inch pneumatic sack-barrow wheels. Freewheeling hubs were previously ground off and fixed hubs with a coupler-dog brazed up and bolted on.

Got some aluminium car-phone enclosures with surface-mounting holes that should take a controller each quite nicely.

Whatever this ends up being, it’ll be pretty powerful and be able to go a long way.

Need to make mounts to secure battery box and fork-extensions to turn the current front wheel into a castor. Wanted a pneumatic castor, but there’s not enough space under the frame currently. Maybe later.

Will keep my eyes on the river; see if a shopping trolley turns up. A trolley basket could be a good addition to it for the moment.

[20/06/2010: Amalgamating old posts from “Dreamwidth Creative Blog” into to re-purpose DW blog account.]

Apr 21 2010

Get angry and build robots.

I’ve burnt out two motor controllers, and I’m out of M6 nuts and bolts.

Will have to get..

75mm M6 bolts
Three M12 coach bolts and nylocs
20 or so M6 nylocs
~50cm of M6 studding
Maybe a bar-LED module

Not sure it’ll be a good gear carrier, but it could be a motherfucker of an T-1.

[20/06/2010: Amalgamating old posts from “Dreamwidth Creative Blog” into to re-purpose DW blog account.]

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