Archive for August, 2011

TRC Member Spotlight: Gertlex

Friday, August 26th, 2011

We actually get a good number of our forum members from the TRC dropping by to chat and hang out, so figured we’d better start sharing the awesome robots they bring in! This week we had Gertlex drop by and show off his first walking robot project, Numa, which he is building for Mech Warfare. Check it out!

AX-12 Robot Arm & Arbotix Demo

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Banter, robots, video. Go!

Dynamixel Positional Feedback Demo

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

This video does nothing to dispel my friends’ belief that all I do is sit around and play with robots all day at work.

— Andrew – “Robot Whisperer”

Cross Dressing Robots!

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Our old friend Che is a bit special. He has pet ducks, snakes, really ugly dogs, and a really hot wife. He wears his mom’s leather pants. He’s also into robo-masochism: meaning he lets his paintball-equipped robots shoot the crap out of him, all the while filming it for the internet’s enjoyment. We have weird friends.

He also has a great custom humanoid project that he has shared with the TRC, Hi No Hikari. This rather large humanoid robot is a kung-fu competitor and Mech-Warfare veteran. “It” also wears dresses, kimonos, and sometimes has flowers tucked into it’s mechanics. I don’t know, don’t ask me. We’re fully supportive of alternative robot lifestyles, but sometimes it’s better that we just not ask. Giger did not appreciate the dress at last year’s Mech-Warfare. He muttered something about “damn hippies” and proceeded to shoot Hi No Hikari in his/her flowery face.

With all that said, it’s been a great learning experience for Che, and one that he has shared with us every step of the way. This was his first attempt at a PLM design and he started off using AX-12+’s, eventually upgrading to the more powerful RX-28s.

Seeing this project progress from Hi No Hikari’s first steps to what he’s achieved now has been great! Check out his latest progress in the video below, we can’t wait to see even more come from this project!

Dynamixel Controllers Overview

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Andrew discusses the different options available for controlling Dynamixel servos. Sexily.

Here is where to find the Dynamixel Controllers.

And here is where to find the Dynamixel Servos.

That concludes this blog post. Cake will be served in the lunch room now.

Analog to PWM with Arduino

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Another introductory video tutorial.

Andrew demonstrates using an arduino to convert analog input into a PWM output.

Shop Talk: Motor Testing Rigs

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Matt (that’s me) goes over how we have set up some motor testing we have done around here. If you are like us and have no patience and want to play with new motors right away here is how to do it. These setups are also good for manual control of stationary motors for various needs.

-Matt “albino pythons” Trossen

What is up with this packing?

Friday, August 12th, 2011

Some of you may be wondering why sometimes there are 924 different types of packing material in your box when it arrives. The short answer is that we are recycling Nazis here. See those three boxes below? Whenever we receive any inventory all packing material goes into these. When we pack medium to large orders we first dig into these boxes and reuse as much stuff as we can. Every time we do this there is exactly that much less in a landfill somewhere.

We could give you a lot of this and that about it creating savings that we pass along to the customer. This would be somewhat true as it does save some cash and that all rolls downhill, but the main truth is we care more about recycling than the packing material being  “pretty” when you open up your box. We do understand that it may look at little ghetto from time to time. It is sometimes humorous because depending on what we grab out of those boxes you could end up with 3 types of bubble wrap with tape still hanging off it and 3 types of paper including the funnies from a daily paper in China. We also recycle boxes themselves when possible. So if you are one of our customers and were every curious now you know :) No we aren’t running our operation out of a basement somewhere. We just recycle, that’s all :)

And we thank our customers for also not worrying about the packaging being pretty in order to recycle some perfectly usable resources. What matters is that your order gets there in one piece and the stuff inside is full of roboty goodness.

High Tech Recycling !

High Tech Recycling !

Why are we such Nazis about it here you may ask? This is why. I used to work at a Domino’s back in college. This store would fill a medium sized dumpster to the brim with cardboard, plastic jugs, and metal cans every week. Then it would get taken to the dump. Why? Because recycling cost an extra $50 a month. The owner had 5 locations, none of which recycled. He lived in a multimillion dollar mansion and threw that much shit into our landfills every month because he couldn’t spend a measly$50 a location. Appalling right?

Here is my point. The waste from one of these stores for 2 weeks equals the effort of someone recycling at home for an entire year.  That is how much a business goes through, when businesses don’t recycle that is where the real waste is.


4 New Products for your Workshop

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Some more tools and goodies for your robot workshop!

3S LiPo Battery Monitor LED/Audio

3S LiPo Battery Monitor LED/Audio

Don’t let you robot die in the middle of battle. This is a simple to use 3S LiPo Battery Alarm. It utilizes multi-color LEDs and an audio alarm to give visual and auditory feedback on the current voltage level of your LiPO battery pack.

Phidgets FlexiForce Adapter

Phidgets FlexiForce Adapter

The Phidgets 1120 FlexiForce Adapter makes it easy to turn a Tekscan FlexiForce Force Sensor into an analog sensor. Phidgets even supply a round plastic disc of the right size for the sensing pad. Aren’t they nice?!

DSO Nano v2 Pocket Oscilloscope

DSO Nano v2 Pocket Oscilloscope

An Oscilloscope that fits into you pocket?!?!?! What is this? The future? Yes. Yes it is.

Arduino Project Box

Arduino Project Box

Don’t you hate it when your friends come over drunk and try to lick your Arduino projects? Us to. What is up with that? Here is an Arduino Project Box to protect your Arduino projects!

Featured Product: Electronic Brick Starter Kit

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Arduino is still blowing up and taking over the world. Soon they will be everywhere and in everything. Better start learning to use them now or risk being laughed at by everyone you know.  <<< See that, that is called fear marketing.

Just a quick overview of a nifty little kit from Seeed Studio. For a great price you can be up and running quickly with the Electronic Brick Starter Kit. The kit comes with a handful of sensors, output devices, and breakout board. Great for getting started fast and avoiding the breadboard.