Minutes of the PARTS meeting on April 6th, 2002
Pete Skeggs, PARTS President, opened the meeting by asking how many folks were attending a PARTS meeting for the first time; about 10 first-time attendees were present.
- Pete reminded everyone about the PDXBOT.02 robotics exposition and competition scheduled for May 19th at Portland State University. The exposition will feature five competitions with prizes awarded, displays of robotics technologies, and robotics vendor displays and sales. The judges for this years mini sumo and micro sumo events will be Marvin Green (founder of PARTS) and Bill Harrison (president of Sine Robotics).
- Warren Leach, PARTS Vice-President, showed the proposed artwork and solicited comments) for the official PDXBOT.02 t-shirt.
- Dana Weesner, PARTS Treasurer, announced that PARTS now has a checking account holding $230.50. He passed a bucket to collect donations to offset the account setup cost of $6.00 (and collected more than $6.00, but an official amount was not available at the end of the meeting).
- Daryl Sandberg announced that his Goliath mini sumo robot had been entered in the recent San Francisco competition. Sadly, some electrical tape (used to prepare his robot for shipping) was not removed before the competition began; Goliaths ring sensors were blinded. Goliaths IR sensors detected and chased a TV cameraman who was videotaping while lying close to the competition ring. Despite the fact that the event was disorganized and no official prizes were awarded, Dan Gates (serving as Daryls proxy) managed to get a VHS tape and a Practical Robotics book for Daryl. Daryl encourages members to build or collaborate on new Japan-class robots while Japanese competitors are still willing to travel to the US. He said that Maxxon and AstroFlight gearhead motors are used in many of the winning designs. The tactic employed by Japan-class winners seems to be to attack from the side or rear; the winning robots are pretty fast. Their processors are 8051 or equivalent nothing fancy. Bill Harrison will provide a Japan-class competition ring and Jim Wright will bring two Japan-class robots to PDXBOT.02.
- Dana Weesner showed the current PDXBOT.02 posters and encouraged all members to print several posters (theyre available on the club web site) and post them around town. He showed the chassis used in the Mark III mini sumo robot kit, and showed the chassis parts in several stages of the fabrication process. He also showed his machined wheels coated with RTV silicone gasket sealant for traction.
- Petes son Eli showed a Mark I mini sumo robot competing against a custom-built mini sumo. He and Pete showed two micro sumo robots, one of which had lithium camera cells and traction from modified micro aircraft servos. Pete reported that modifying micro servos is quite a bit more difficult than modifying standard servos. Pete showed his micro sumo capable of operating in multiple modes: wall following, sumo, line following and collision avoidance.
- Rick Farmer brought more of his bootloader boards to give away. These boards feature surface-mount soldering practice areas, headers for the Sharp IR sensor, interlaced power and ground traces, etc. He reported that many new electronic parts are available only in surface mount packaging, and said that prototyping and circuit construction may be more difficult in the next few years as a result.
- John Gregory showed his new 4-wheel drive Lynxmotion robot platform, suitable for Japan-class robots. (Pete explained to the newcomers present that Japan-class robots must fit within a 20 cm x 20 cm square, weigh less than 3 kg, and compete in a 5-foot ring. Mini sumo robots must fit within a 10 cm x 10 cm square, weigh less than 500 g and compete in a 2-1/2 foot ring. Micro sumo robots must fit within a 5 cm x 5 cm x 5 cm cube, weigh less than 100 g and compete in a 15-inch ring.)
- Kark Kuchs reported that he had shown his robotic colony at the Intel Science Expo at PSU. Karl won (among numerous other honors) the IEEE award for the best use of a computer. Four of the students who are working on the McMinnville High School walking robot are going to the SME-sponsored competition in Louisville. The school had 13 entries in 17 possible categories at the recent Science Expo.
- Monty Goodson said that he is interested in building something even smaller than a micro sumo robot. He showed a miniature pager motor that he bought from Electronics Goldmine (www.goldmine-elec.com) that hes going to try to convert into a source of motive power.
- Brad Lewis showed his proof-of-concept telerobot. Hes looking for mechanical and electronic assistance. His robot has an on-board SitePlayer web server that serves up 30 frames per second video from an X-10 wireless camera. The prototype robot is controlled via a serial port connection to a Parallax (www.parallaxinc.com) Board of Education (BOE) with a BS2 controller. The next step in his development project will be the replacement of the SitePlayer board with a Linux-based computer.
- Bruce Wiedemann brought his Wrecked Tangle battle bot and a photo of how its ram damaged a scrap metal air purifier. He explained how he needed to reduce the cylinder air pressure on the ram return stroke so the bot doesnt damage itself. He showed some .080-inch titanium sheet that hell use for skins on his robot. It takes a 7500-ton press/shear to cut it. (Normally high-pressure water cutting jets are used to cut titanium.) He had replaced aluminum bearing seats with ultra-high molecular weight (UHMW) plastic, and replaced steel axles with aluminum in an effort to reduce weight. The next BattleBots competition is the last week in May; he may wait until November to ensure that he has time to learn how to drive his completed bot.
- Cory Poole showed the chassis of his light-following robot that travels on model railroad track. Like model locomotives, his robot picks up its power from the tracks. He will be adding halogen lights in the near future.
- Tim Rohaly reported that he has had a few problems with suppliers of parts for the Mark III robot kits. A partial shipment of the servos arrived just two days before the meeting. He had kitted up all the orders that he had parts for, and would distribute them after the meeting ended. He said that he had sold over 90 kits so far, and wil probably build another 100 kits. Most kits have been sold within driving distance of Portland, but some will be sent to Canada and England. He has had some sales to schools.
- Bob & Bobby Pearson reported that Bobby had completed Brett Nelsons Saturday Academy robotics class. Bobby built a mini sumo robot that won its first competition, but lost its second match.
- Larry Geib showed the jigs that he made to produce the melamine line-following course. The jigs hold the melamine track sections so that the interlocking dovetail knuckles can be routed in place.
- Eric said that he had started building a micro sumo robot during shop nights, but had run out of time. He plans to gut 9-volt batteries for their cells to power his robot. He also showed an intriguing gear motor tumblebot that could climb over obstacles as it tumbled forward.
- Ron Nucci reported that sales of the CMU cam have been brisk (www.seattlerobotics.com). Hes looking for some contract programming help to finish various projects hed like to complete and sell.
- Jonathan Fant showed FRED with its new stepper motor drive hooked to a parallel port motor controller. His goal is to put an NEC computer on-board the platform to control the robot and provide voice output. He showed FRED moving forward and rotating
The next PARTS meeting will be April 27th, 2002. This is one week earlier than usual to accommodate folks who want to go to the Seattle Robothon 2002 (held on our normally-scheduled PARTS meeting day).