Monday, September 6, 2010

Wow, What A Weekend!

I only hope that you had a spectacular weekend like I just did. I had the opportunity to spend many hours building over this long three day weekend. I worked on four different projects with great success. And since I took MARVIN apart, I had tons of parts to work with.  Man, it's good to be building again.

The first project I worked on was an updated Stewart Platform. Not much different from the last one I built, but this is far more stable in all positions. I changed one of the joints and moved some of the Linear Actuators in toward the center. I didn’t take any video of it because it operates pretty much the same as the last version. But take my word for it, it is better.

The second project I worked on is an updated Lego Flexpicker. I have some ideas that I might want to try. This version uses about half the parts, is lighter and more compact but not smaller (if that makes sense), and much easier to mount. I have been throwing around the idea of building more than one to see if I could create a large pick and place system. More info to come.

The third project was more of learning experience for me. I wondered if I could make the motor speeds follow a complex function, such as a trigonometric function like sine or cosine. I was able to do this without much hassle. What this means to the non-Math nerds such as myself is that the motor speeds up and slows down, reverses and does the same. It would remind you of a pendulum.

And I have video for the fourth project. A few months ago here on Tinkernology I blogged about the Lego Education Mobile R/C Robot called Rooster. I spend about a day building myself one and I named it The Hen.

It is easy to control. In fact my five year old likes to drive it around, but she doesn’t quite have the arm movements down just yet. This project has a high “playability” aspect, almost as much as the Lego Bulldozer does. I would recommend this project to anybody who likes to play as much as build.

My favorite part about this build is the gripper. I have probably built forty versions of grippers over twenty years or so; I am just fascinated by grippers for some reason. But this one is special. I have built this version as shown a half dozen times because it works so well. I use a M PF motor running a clutch gear to control it. When the gripper is fully closed or open, the clutch slips so there is no stress put on the motor.

Now I can’t wait for the next three day weekend.


  1. Some great stuff there!
    I can't wait for the school holidays when I can really get building.

  2. Great grabber!

    I give my students about 20 minutes with the Dacta 9632 set to design a grabber. Their solutions are rather simple. I'm sure they would enjoy seeing a more complex grabber like yours.

    Perhaps I will try to build something similar.