Recent Posts

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Misc / New dual-arm SCARA robot
« Last post by hexan on July 01, 2014, 05:33:24 AM »

I think you might be interested in this new dual-arm SCARA academic robot: http://www.mecademic.com.


Software / Re: Propotional Algorithm with Digital IR sensor array
« Last post by EXCodeX on July 01, 2014, 05:14:16 AM »
Thanks jkerns  :)  :)  :)  :)
Misc / Getting started in robotics as hobby
« Last post by psilocine on June 29, 2014, 09:20:55 PM »
Hey guys,

I'm all new to the scene but I decided I want to start robotics as my new hobby.

I have a little hard time getting started though.
I can't really find any good starter tutorials on robotics.
I do have some experience in serveral programming languages but I have very little experience in electronics.

I did a little research on what I want my starter projects to be.
I know that a walking robot is way out of my league (for now) but it would be nice to start with some remote controlled vehicles, Maybe even balance one on two wheels.. I dunno.

The main problem is that I can't really find a place to start.
I think that if i got the basic electronics wired up and connected to a program on my computer I'd be able to develop my skills from there.

I'm thinking about buying a starter cursus for robotics, but they are kinda expensive.

So if you guys have any links/tips to get me started it would be of great help. ;)

(excuse my spelling, I'm not English)

Thanks already
Misc / FAA bans FPV (1st person goggles on drones), call to action
« Last post by Admin on June 29, 2014, 09:19:22 AM »
I got this in my email recently from Timothy of the DC Drones meetup group:

As many of you may have seen, the FAA recently issued an "Interpretation of the Special Rule for Model Aircraft" that you can read by clicking here. Our community and others that fly UAVs are deeply disappointed that the FAA has decided to take a very restrictive approach to this technology. Particularly problematic is their statement that flying with first person vision (FPV) goggles is not allowed. FPV has become a popular way for members of our community to experience the joys of flight and the FAA offers no basis either from a legal or safety perspective for its sudden effort to outlaw use of that technology for recreational flight.

We are going to need to band together to make sure that this technology that we've all worked so hard on doesn't get regulated out from under us. The FAA interpretation is open to public comment, and we strongly encourage you to post comments on the regulation.org website expressing your frustration with what is being proposed.
Electronics / Robotic arm that copies human arm
« Last post by luweeboi on June 29, 2014, 07:33:31 AM »
HI guys, im trying to create a robotic arm that can be controlled by human arm. I have seen and researched quite few concept. Now I am trying to recreate this concept from this video on youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYG19lhlA3c . Any of you guys have a background on creating this? tia :)
Software / LAB volt 5250 Robotic arm
« Last post by Dur-e-Tabish on June 28, 2014, 12:26:48 AM »
Does anyone know how to add the option of linear slide in Matlab interface of Lab volt Robotic arm 5250??

Has anyone ever interfaced Robosim (Lab volt 5250 software) with Matlab??
Robot Videos / Robot Gangam styling
« Last post by carlapkeegan on June 27, 2014, 03:31:00 AM »

Love watching this robot dancing Graham Norton is funny too.
I want one of these Robots!!! I have bought little robots from activerobots.com but want a bigger one now :)  8)
Mechanics and Construction / Re: CNC router VS 3D printer
« Last post by bdeuell on June 25, 2014, 12:27:48 PM »
I would personally recommend getting a 3D printer over a CNC router.

Any router in that price range is not going to be a very robust machine. I wouldn't count on a router being able to cut metal even aluminum. While i'm sure you could do it with a well built router in a pinch, a mill is much more well suited to machining. Also, machining is much more complex than just pressing start you must consider many aspects such as work-holding, tooling, feeds and speeds, etc. Without a good understanding of machining practices anything beyond flat plates will likely prove challenging especially without the right tool (the right tool being a mill). And if all you are gong to be making is flat plates i don't think it is offering very much value. You can make some nice brackets and frame plates with a hacksaw, some files, and a drill press. If you take your time and use layout lines most people wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a milled and hand made plate. ...i know making the parts by hand doesn't sound like as much fun tho.

I think a 3D printer will offer you a lot more value in terms of what parts you are capable of producing. As mentioned, considering Shapeways as a source for these parts is a valid approach. They will be able to print higher quality and more precise parts than you without the investment cost. But I do understand the allure of having your own machine (it is kind of like a robot that makes robots :) ). For a 3D printer I would not go with Makerbot, as I have heard some negative things about their products and business practices. In my opinion the hobby level 3d printer technology is still developing and nobody has a perfect solution yet ... so you should expect to have to do some tinkering to get good performance. With that in mind I would chose a printer that supports user development and has a strong support community. I have been looking at buying an Ultimaker the version one is probably in your price range. I don't love their mechanical design, but that said i haven't found a hobby level printer that I wouldn't change something about their mechanics.

Just my two cents tho.
Software / iRobot Create serial communication control working code C
« Last post by EvilDylan42 on June 25, 2014, 02:20:10 AM »
Hello world,

I recently had a university project where I worked on the iRobot Create and the thing that frustrated me was that I couldn't find any proper working C/C++ code showing how to interface with and control it via serial. So here's a little snippet of the project that you should just be able to plug into Visual Studio 2010/2012 and run right away. I've included a few simple functions (drive, getAngle) to show it working but I am fairly certain I improved them/fixed some problems for the final build so I'd encourage playing around with them.

Don't forget to find out which COM port you've plugged the iRobot into and change it in the code. I probably could have automated this but hey, you're getting it for free - stop complaining.

Feel free to use this in any project outside of commercial use. I accept no liability if you somehow manage to hurt yourself or break the tank that is the iRobot etc etc.
Mechanics and Construction / Re: CNC router VS 3D printer
« Last post by ootbrobo on June 23, 2014, 09:51:48 AM »
I can't say which would be better emphatically since I'm not sure what you would like to do specifically with either machine, but I can give you some insight so that you can make a decision.

3d printer:


In your price range you would be looking at an FDM type machine (extruded ABS, PLA etc.).  Having used some lower end machines in this price range my advice would be to look for a printer that has the best overall quality vs size of build platform.  I spent so many hours tuning and tweaking my last low end printer.  Also many of the low end machines boasting large build platforms miss a major point.  You cannot make large prints especially out of ABS without a thermal chamber.  Its a complicated process, but its mostly due to the contraction of the plastic as it cools.  Some folks love tweaking and playing with these printers, but I just wanted to build stuff I could use.  20/20 hindsight proved I would have been better served using Shapeways, which is a great option by the way. 

Despite my feelings about experience with some of the low end machines, consumer grade printers have advanced a lot. The Makerbot Replicator Mini looks to be a quality machine in your price range.  They apparently addressed many of the typical annoyances (putting it lightly) such as leveling of the build platform.  If I were to go with a 3d printer in your price range, that would be my pick.

Advantages to the technology:

With a 3d printer you can make fairly complex parts, that would in many cases be impossible for a 3 axis router to build.

3d printers are for the most part fully automated.  You just press print, and come back in a few hours.

Disatvantages to the technology:

Repeatablily- lots of printers in this price range can be irritable.  If you print the same thing multiple times you will probably notice some variances.

Its an additive process.  So you need to factor in the cost of filament into your budget.  Its typically more expensive than raw materials you would cut with a CNC.

Maintenance- to keep a printer running smoothly you need to make sure the extruders are not getting clogged; the build platform is level and clean so on and so forth

limited material selection-  Some parts you may want to build will not be well suited for the materials you can print with

Grain boundaries-  When you print layer by layer there is a defined grain to the part similar to a piece of wood.  If you load an RP parallel with the grain it will be more prone to shearing along the grain.

CNC router:


A CNC router is a powerful tool, that is really optimized for 2 1/d work.  Meaning you can cut 2d shapes out of a block of material.  The 1/2 d being a plunge of a given depth.  That being said it is possible to create full 3d cuts, but this requires a range of tooling, and more advanced software, that may or may not be available in your price range.  Be aware that many routers at the low end cut corners with build materials.  Try to stay away from routers built from materials such as masonite manufactured wood and particle board, since these materials are highly sensitive to moisture, which causes warping.  You may be able to treat or coat such materials to better weatherize them, but this could also disrupt the fit of the parts, which is bad too. 

One of the biggest differences from 3d printing to routing is that you have to be aware of the cutting tool limitations.  In the case of a router, milling of the material constitutes horizontal cuts with a  rotating blade of some diameter. You cannot cut a square hole with a drill bit that you would put in a cnc router.  So you need to think in terms of what features are reasonable or possible for the machine to make.  3d printers don't really suffer from this issue since they extrude minuscule amounts of material layer by layer.  As such the extruder is always above the work piece.


generally have a larger build area (l x w) than 3d printers of the same expense

Vast material selection

More repeatable than FDM 3d printers (in my opinion)

Generally better resolution than comparable 3d printers


Tooling- all the drills and routing bits.  You have to be careful when you design not to require exotic features that would require equally exotic tooling

Wear- The tooling used has a finite life span.  As the tools become dull you need to replace them.  Worn tools can break and produce poor results.

Tool changes- routers require different tools for different features when cutting in 3d.  You have to babysit these machines to change out tooling.


produces lots of debris


If I were in your shoes, and wanted to make robot chassis I would consider what kinds or parts were important to me.  If you want to make cool/intricate 3d parts I would go 3d printer or shapeways.  If my goal was to make larger, and more robust parts, that were primarily 2d in nature, a CNC router would be the way to go.

Hope that helps
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