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Hello from a new guy, here's a little about me....

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myblack60impala:
Hi,

Being new to this forum I thought I'd post a link to what I'm doing and a little about me.

I'm a long time member of the St Louis Area Robotics Group www.robomo.com and am their event coordinator. I'm what you would call a compulsive builder, as such I'm doing my own online series called "Build-A-Bot" where I'm building a new robot each month for the rest of '07. Here's a link http://www.winston.robomo.com/Build%20A%20Bot.html

Also while its too close to advertise this years event (its this saturday) I'd like to invite any interested party's to our event for next year. Where we will be having a 3 part comp of Dead Reckoning, Lego Sumo, and Mini Sumo. Our events are free to enter, free to watch, where all winning positions can win a minimum of a robot kit for all placing positions.

So thats the basics about me.....

I saw were your site admin posted interest in sponsoring events, we can make this happen if you want to be apart of our next comp.

Also I'd be interested in doing a couple tutorials on building robots, as I'm always building something.

Somchaya:
Wow, a robot every month? That's really impressive.. Do you often reuse components, or do you build completely new robots each time?

I kind of want to build many robots (not one a month though, more like two a year), but getting new parts for each of them gets expensive, but tearing apart old robots pains me too :P

myblack60impala:

I try not to re-use parts, with the exception of the Lego robots. But the 2 main reasons for building so many was because my local robotics group had previously suffered from lots of regular members who weren't build anything. So the meetings got boring cause no one brought in any projects.

So last year I did a thing called "Ever spend a week in the life of someone else" where I documented everything I worked on for the week, online. Well this cheesy reality TV like stunt got them motivated to start building projects again. So if it worked once maybe if I step it up, it will work again, only better.

The other reason for doing this is because I've been mentoring high school kids. As such I've found when you have a table full of interesting "toys" they respond better to learning deep subjects like building robotics can be.

The other thing to point out about building so many bots in such a short amount of time, while working full time, etc. Is that to keep the pace (and keep a social life) I've had to offset my custom bots by buying a few kits. As it takes some time to build properly functioning custom robots, without creating a smoking fire ball.


Slightly different topic, I like the tutorials this site has showing new people creative places to find parts. Its amazing what people have, but don't realize its "reuse potential". I've been dumpster diving for parts over the last couple years and couldn't have built several of my bots without doing this.

Admin:
1 robot a month? I'd say overly ambitious but it appears you are using a few kits so maybe not too much . . . in 2004 i made 7 robots from scratch (2 for contests, 3 for classes, and 2 for fun) while being a full time student . . . i practically (and often literally) lived in the lab :P

since then ive tried to focus on fewer, but bigger, projects . . .


--- Quote ---So last year I did a thing called "Ever spend a week in the life of someone else" where I documented everything I worked on for the week, online. Well this cheesy reality TV like stunt got them motivated to start building projects again. So if it worked once maybe if I step it up, it will work again, only better.
--- End quote ---
i commend you! too bad we live too far apart or we could team up somehow . . .


--- Quote ---getting new parts for each of them gets expensive, but tearing apart old robots pains me too
--- End quote ---
as you get better at making robots, your old ones sorta get embarrassing to keep around . . . and financially my attachment to my babies (robots) is worth less than an extra $200 in new parts . . . for example, the wheels on my stampy robot have been used on like 8 other robots . . .

I find what helps me not cry when killing a robot is video documenting it, taking lots of pics, etc. This way it will always live on, and I can still show it to others. (robots can be poetic, too!)


--- Quote ---Also I'd be interested in doing a couple tutorials on building robots, as I'm always building something.
--- End quote ---
Ill set you up an account when I get home (probably very late).

myblack60impala:
Yeah some of the bots are kits, but its just to offset the custom ones, and to learn how/why they did the kits. I've learned you can't under estimate the value of seeing how others do things, to make your own future projects better.
A prime example was my purchase of a Microbot Robo-Lefter kit. I've never though of using angled IR's to measure range. They do this by having 1 set at 0 degrees to the wall, then 1 set 90 degrees to the wall, and lastly 1 set in the middle at 60 degrees to the wall. This allows for a cheaper version of what I did on my present mouse for less cash. Plus for a new builder, this would be a lot easier to understand the programming than using ADC's which tends to confuse.

Presently I'm nearly finished building a maze solving mouse using a base from a $20 Tamiya wall follower kit, a pololu 168 baby O, and 3 sharp IR's, then later I'll add a pair of QRB1134's as encoders. I've presently written some simple wall follower code, but later will rewrite it for real maze code. As right now its about numbers more than building for quality.

My local group just finished its public maze comp, so this mouse is a bit late.....but thats how it goes.

Our next event is a group member only BBQ/minisumo in late summer, so I'll be building 3 custom sumo's next for that, as well as to have them ready for next years public sumo/dead reckoning event. I found some really cool copier paper-rollers at a local electronics/junk store. They will be perfect for high traction mini sumo tires. I'm also going to do a tracked mini sumo, and a variation on a mark III.

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