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Offline tzankoffTopic starter

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My New Butler Robot
« on: June 19, 2011, 05:32:26 PM »
I am planning to my own butler robot. Huh? What? You've heard that one before? From whom? Oh, that's right! "Chives" was built by airman00 and "Belvedere" was made by wolffan. I think both are very good creations...though I find airman00's excessive use of hot glue and brackets a little bit odd.

Anyway... ;D

I have been reading about and checking out photos for both robots along with a few others. Collectively (along with some of my own ideas), they have the form and functionality I am looking for along with technologies that I am interested in learning about. I have created this thread to post progress reports as I go along.

Planning is key...as I learned a little bit the hard way back when I was building the Fergybot4000 in June 2010. I have already made a list of the parts that I need to build the chassis and will order them this week. I will need to get them assembled and working before I build anything else. I have to build the chassis from the inside out. The reasoning is a bit odd, but I will explain that part later.

I am not going to be messing with wheelchair motors on this thing. While I have not tried using them before, I saw how quickly Chives turned "left one unit" in his video and thought he was ready to go nuts and kill somebody. Besides, I would much rather put together my own motor and gearbox combinations. That is something I am sure that I can get right the first time because I have dealt with this kind of assembly before.

That is all for now. If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, ideas, or smart ass remarks about this pending creation, fell free to post them here.

Offline tzankoffTopic starter

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Re: My New Butler Robot
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2011, 08:13:39 PM »
I ordered the first batch of parts today. Most of it is gear motor related stuff for the chassis. Yeah, I know. What a really boring update. Don't worry. It gets better. I promise.
 ;D

Offline airman00

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Re: My New Butler Robot
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2011, 07:14:35 PM »
Hey Tzankoff,
Best of luck!

 I built chives when I was about 14 or 15, ( 4-5 years ago). I'd like to think that I've improved a bit :P
If you're really going forward with this, hit me up! I'd love to chat and talk and help you make a great butler robot. I was always planning to make a new one, but never spent the time. Maybe I can channel some of my ideas through you.
Check out the Roboduino, Arduino-compatible board!


Link: http://curiousinventor.com/kits/roboduino

www.Narobo.com

Offline tzankoffTopic starter

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Re: My New Butler Robot
« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2011, 09:45:32 PM »
Hi, airman00. Yes, I am going through with this!

This will be my second robotic creation. Back in June 2010, I finished the initial version of my first robot. Fergybot4000 (which is my version of Geoff Peterson, the robot skeleton sidekick from "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson") was a big hit with Craig Ferguson fans that I met in Nashville back in November 2010. It even got the attention of Rebecca Tucker, one of Craig's assistants.

[youtube]KjplFR4X6cM[/youtube]

[youtube]i5Z2g0ceZdk[/youtube]

It looks decent in the videos...but to be honest, the construction was crap and the programming was even worse.

Since then, I have rebuilt the robot. It's about 10 pounds lighter, much easier to transport, and the programming has improved tremendously. I also have a 20-button remote control to make him say and do whatever I want whenever I want him to. It would have been nice to have that capability back then. I look forward to taking him to other Craig Ferguson tour locations in my region. In the meantime, he and I have gigs lined up for Halloween...pretty much forever!

While Fergybot4000 is more along the lines of an animated prop, this butler project will be a more autonomous and functional robot. He will actually perform tasks normally carried out by butlers. For example, he will serve drinks. He will not be carrying a mini-fridge. He will actually serve the drinks and distribute snacks as well.

There will be various control methods including joystick, keypad, auto pilot, and voice commands. Sound a bit familiar?

I better not get too ahead of myself. All of this is way in the future. Right now, I am waiting for chassis parts to arrive. I need to assemble the gear motors, test a few things, and visually investigate some other stuff before making decisions regarding the construction of the body.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2011, 09:49:17 PM by tzankoff »

Offline tzankoffTopic starter

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Re: My New Butler Robot
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2011, 04:28:45 PM »
Hooray! My first batch of parts arrived...and I find myself a little worried and paranoid. I ordered two 90RPM gear motors. The label on the gear motors says 90RM, but the packing slip says they are 6RPM. It could just be some kind of database entry error thing, but you never know.
 :P

I will plug these things in later and find out what the deal is. If they really are 6RPM, it's going to be one of those long and frustrating weekends where I will most likely run of of curse words.
 :o

Other than that, all looks good.
 ;D

Offline tzankoffTopic starter

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Re: My New Butler Robot
« Reply #5 on: June 24, 2011, 06:32:50 PM »
Phew! They are 90RPM gear motors.
 ;D

Sometime this weekend, I will post a list of ideas that I would like to incorporate into the robot. I am pretty sure I will not be able to incorporate everything because I don't think there will be enough room. I am still working out some of the dimensions, so a solution to whatever space issues that come up might become available.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2011, 06:39:31 PM by tzankoff »

Offline tzankoffTopic starter

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Re: My New Butler Robot
« Reply #6 on: June 27, 2011, 02:35:24 PM »
Who would have thought a couple of stripped screws (and no spares) could ruin your weekend? I found out, but it's not a total loss of time because I was able to make progress in other areas.

After trying to swap reduction gears on my gearboxes, a couple of the screws attached to a clamping hubs just would not budge. I eventually got them out with a pair of pliers, a little bit of luck, and lots and lots of patience. The screws were ruined and no hardware store in town seems to carry any #5 screws at all. Can somebody explain to me why that is or am I just a victim of more bad luck in the form of product unavailability?

Anyway, I assembled what I could of the gearboxes and took some measurements to help determine the size of the chassis. While a couple of things might still change, it looks like my base will be 24" long by 19" wide. By comparison, the baseboard for Chives is 21" x 14" and to me, he looks plenty big overall. Then again, looks can be deceiving.

Now that I have at least some kind of numbers to go by (even if they change later), I can go ahead an plan the rest of the chassis build. I have ordered additional parts (including replacement screws) along with a Dual L298 H-Bridge motor driver from SparkFun and an Axon II microcontroller from...uhhh...some website...somewhere.
;D

While waiting for that stuff to arrive, I can get started fabricating some kind of shelves for the gearboxes to be mounted to. Since the center of the wheels I will be using will not align in the proximity of the base of the chassis (unless I want some ridiculously high ground clearance), I will somehow have to lift the gearboxes off the ground a few inches.

I was going to post a wish list of features, but I am going to save that for a bit while I work through this little delay.

Until next time...

Offline tzankoffTopic starter

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Re: My New Butler Robot
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2011, 07:09:43 PM »
Hooray! Two of the three packages that I have been waiting for arrived today. I now have everything that I need to build the chassis. Unaccounted for, at this point, is the microcontroller; but there is always tomorrow. If not, I will have to send an e-mail to...uhhh...whats-his-name.
 ;D

In the meantime, I will finish assembling the gearboxes and mock them up on the chassis (which will measure 24" x 19").

The height of this robot is still in question at this point, but I do want to get the chassis working correctly before building anything else. Otherwise, I will end up getting way ahead of myself and doing a bunch of stupid things that will ruin the project. However, in order to do that, I will need the microcontroller. I will do what I can for now and hope that it arrives tomorrow.

Offline tzankoffTopic starter

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Re: My New Butler Robot
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2011, 06:07:51 PM »
Phooey! The microcontroller did not arrive in today's mail.
 :'(

I can still build the chassis, but will not be able to fully test everything before building the body of the robot. Since I am starting to actually build the robot itself, I will try to remember to take some pictures and include them in future posts.

Offline corrado33

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Re: My New Butler Robot
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2011, 08:22:38 PM »
Don't rush it just because you're excited to do it.  Take it slow and make sure you're doing everything right.

Offline tzankoffTopic starter

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Re: My New Butler Robot
« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2011, 08:16:34 AM »
Believe me, I know.
 :P

I learned that one when I built Fergybot, my first robot. While I did make an honest effort to plan things out, some things just did not go the way that I wanted them to. As a result, I had to do some things over again. Eventually, I got it right and everything works fine.

Offline tzankoffTopic starter

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Re: My New Butler Robot
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2011, 07:08:58 AM »
Day 9. Still no microcontroller. Morale low. The men are weary. The only good news at this point is that, according to Admin, I appear to be the lucky winner of the "USPS Lost Your Package" drawing. I would much rather save up to 15% on my car insurance by switching to Geico. Must go now. Will collect wood for fire and hunt dear for food.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2011, 07:10:55 AM by tzankoff »

Offline tzankoffTopic starter

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Re: My New Butler Robot
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2011, 01:29:44 PM »
Day 16. I finally got word from the post office that they found my missing package.
 ;D

Oh, wait. No, I didn't. I haven't heard squat from them. I doubt I ever will.
 >:(

For those who have never dealt with the USPS over the phone, it basically consists of the following: press 1 for this, press 2 for that, press 3 for something else, press a bunch of other things, say this, do that, get put on hold, wait, person who finally answers told you called the wrong department, get put on hold again, get transferred, wait some more, second person tells you the person I spoke to earlier should have been able to help me, get put on hold yet again, get transferred back, the same guy you spoke to earlier tells you the system is down and he cannot help you, and get hung up on while asking for suggestions as to what to do.

Yeah, that is exactly what happened...and on more than one phone call might I add. Thankfully, the temperature of my head shot all the way up to 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes (combined length of three or four phone calls), so I made the most of the situation and I baked a cake.

However, I did hear from Admin who is shipping another Axon II today and should arrive Saturday. If the missing Axon ever arrives, I might just go ahead and buy it. I'm sure that I will come up with something that I can use it for. Admin tells me that only one Axon prior to mine ever got lost during shipping and that package did arrive at its destination almost a month later.

Sooooo...what's new with your robots?
 :P

Offline tzankoffTopic starter

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Re: My New Butler Robot
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2011, 12:45:07 PM »
Day 18. The postman delivered a package today...to someone...somewhere...
 :'(

Thankfully, one of those somebodies was me. The Axon II finally arrived. Yeah, it was the second attempt, but it's here now.
 ;D

As for the first one, who knows? If it shows up, I might go ahead and buy it. I'll deal with that when (and if) that happens.

Luckily for me, I had plenty of things to do while waiting that were not robot related to occupy my time. That, plus me not getting around to doing all of the things that were robot related that I said I was going to take care of while waiting for the second Axon to arrive, now allows me a chance to get a laundry list of things done this weekend. I pretty much have everything I need. I just don't have anything to show for it yet.

I will now try to actually start working on my butler this weekend...and I might even post some pictures of whatever I get done so that you will actually have something to look at other than my endless pages of boring and partially irrelevant text sprinkled with emoticons.
 ;)

Offline corrado33

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Re: My New Butler Robot
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2011, 06:56:28 PM »
Cool, good to know you finally got it.  Good for admin by doing right by his customers and sending another one out to you. 

Now, let's see some robots.  You've had plenty of time to plan, go build.

Offline tzankoffTopic starter

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Re: My New Butler Robot
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2012, 04:20:38 PM »
I am back...and man, what a very interesting and somewhat unfortunate string of events that have occurred in the past year.

I was getting ready to start building my butler robot when I had developed a foot infection that apparently, I did not take good enough care of on my own. There was more to this infection than just a popped blister. No, I did not pop it myself. Anyway, I had to go to the hospital for what seemed like forever, underwent three surgeries, and thankfully, I still have my foot. However, I did lose one toe in the process. I'm not going to bore you to death with details, but I just wanted to let those interested know where I was because I was enthused to start building this thing and then, all of a sudden, I had to disappear. While I am a bit slow in moving and there is a waddle in my step, I am moving about without having to use a cane or walker and the surgery wounds on my foot and healing up rather nicely.

Okay, with all that out of the way, it's good to be back and I still plan on building this butler robot contraption of mine.

While in the hospital, I did try to do some additional research and development (since I had the time of my hands) and am a little uncertain as to how to go about hooking up some of these components together.

Here are a few of the things I would like to accomplish:

1) using one (or perhaps two) Sabertooth motor drivers (recommend another brand?) to power one (or two) sets of wheelchair motors. One to move the robot, and *maybe* the other to move the arms. I plan to make this thing work for a living. You might be asking if wheelchair motors for the arms is overkill. Yes...I think it is!  ;D

2) using an Axon II to control other servos, LEDs, etc.

3) wireless remote control for the whole thing

Of course, I might be getting too ambitious. Regardless, I welcome your comments and suggestions. I'm still in the research phase at this point. I won't be buying anything for a little while.

Offline Admin

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Re: My New Butler Robot
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2012, 05:21:06 AM »
Sounds like gangrene . . .

Anyway, your points 1-3 sound like you want something like this, but much bigger?

How to Make a Robot with Axon II MCU

Offline tzankoffTopic starter

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Re: My New Butler Robot
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2012, 10:28:12 AM »
Sounds like gangrene . . .
Unfortunately, yes.

Anyway, your points 1-3 sound like you want something like this, but much bigger?
Yes. With a couple of differences
1) possibly a second motor drivers (Im thinking the Sabertooth 2x25, but still looking around)
2) radio controlled (not bluetooth)

Offline Admin

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Re: My New Butler Robot
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2012, 11:37:01 AM »
WebbotLib has an option to read in a RC frequency from a regular RC receiver.

The remote control sends a signal to the receiver, and the receiver outputs a servo command. You simply send this servo command to an Axon II digital interrupt pin, read in the frequency, and then have your code do something with it.

Offline tzankoffTopic starter

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Re: My New Butler Robot
« Reply #19 on: March 24, 2012, 02:58:18 AM »
Interesting. That is new to me. I'll look into it. Thanks.

 


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