Minutes of the PARTS meeting on August 3rd, 2002

President and commander in chief Pete Skeggs began with a reminder about a change in format for our monthly meetings.

Re-formatting of PARTS meeting:

  1. Q&A
  2. Presentations
  3. General Show and Tell
  4. Tech talk

We then had a special presentation by Monty Goodson : Akihabara and hobby robotics in Japan

Monty recently returned from a business trip to Japan, during which he had time to explore Tokyo’s famed Akihabara district, a veritable robotics paradise. He gave an excellent and entertaining show of pictures, stories and videos. Some highlights of pics included bullet trains, car juke boxes, the Ginsu district with 5 floors of Sony products and the many wonders of Akihabra, He showed alley booths full of every electronic part imaginable and walls upon walls of difficult to obtain robot parts in a variety of packed stores. A video of the Honda biped, Asimo, performing at a country western show was particularly entertaining. He ate sushi every day, and tried turtles and snakes. He was able to gather plenty of loot, which he showed off during show and tell.

Time for a PARTS Field trip?

Show and Tell:

Daryl: showed much progress on MRII (Mars Rover 2). The robot includes a X-10 (Death to popups!) wireless video camera. Daryl included a marker in the camera’s field of vision, allowing a reference for the scale of images. Systems in progress include Robust H-bridges with feedback. He has tried many motors for turning articulation, but is having a hard time finding the right balance of torque, speed and power. Currently, he is using windshield motors.

Karl discussed his second-generation robot colony, which will include six or seven robots. He has been using yellow plastic sheets from Lynx Motion for prototyping, and reports it works well.

Dana, our esteemed treasurer, reported the PARTS balance sheet- $1,350 in the bank.

Monty showed off booty from his Japan trip including tiny Digi Q differential drive cars controlled by an IR remote , and slightly larger Bit-Charges RC cars . He showed a tiny micropet . Speculation is that the drive train relies on a solenoid type action that would not be very amenable for hacking into a tiny robot drive. He showed many copies of the amazing Robot magazine, Robocon. The pictures alone are worth the cost, as the magazine is in Japanese (Even so, Daryl was able to build his beer can induction motor from the pictures in a Robocon article.

Steve showed his newest microsumo,V^3 (later re-named Pixel) and a new micro-sumo rough prototype only 2.5 cm tall that uses very small silicon slotcar wheels.

Mark Medonis showed his methods used in the fabrication of plastic parts for Maxwell. He uses vacuum forming, molding plastic sheets (30 mil lexan) over a heated plaster mold on a homemade vacuum table made from a cake pan and perf board connected to a shop vac. He discussed improved molding methods using latex and silicon molds. He suggested using high quality plaster, available in town from Rose City Plaster. For reference, he uses a mold-making book by Thurston James.

President Pete showed his ever-evolving Cloverbot, which sports 68HC11 Brains and lots of sensors. He has been working on the software for his custom motor encoders and has been trying to overcome problems with noisy motors.

Carl showed various components from Kronosrobotics.com that he is beta testing, including an interrupt driven servo control board that will retail around $17 assembled. He also showed Kronos’s "Easy Motor Module", which has 754410 chips for $29.

Jana brought in some 68HC11 books.

Eric showed his latest collection of parts destined for great robots, including a digital compass module and some biobug Mark Tilden designed gear motors that sport 16oz. Inches of torque at 30rpm for $7 each.

Jason rescued an automotive test probe machine from the dumpster and is looking for a project.

Dick, in his first PARTS meeting, talked about the Oregon L-5 society, www.oregonL5.org. And OMSI space day, information at home.attbi.com/~rsteff

Tim reported good Mark III Kit sales. He has found a commercial manufacturer for the chassis, which reduces a significant bottleneck in their production. He is working on a larger, more general-purpose robot chassis.

Paul talked about showing his electric car at OMSI, part of a gathering of the Oregon Electric Vehicle Association.

Scott showed his prototype Micro Sumo chassis (Yeehaw, another micro warrior in the fold!).

Gene talked about his goal to build a personal robot and expressed great optimism over the coming personal robotic revolution.

Richard asked about a good way to learn SMD soldering. Tim provided the following useful links:

Information about how to solder surface mount components:

SMT Adapters:

We closed the meeting with a discussion on desired atributes for a new PARTS logo.

After the usual post-meeting socializing period, we moved over to Hot Lips for the usual ‘za and robogeekin. We had four New folks in attendance.