Minutes of the PARTS meeting on June 1st, 2002
Pete Skeggs, PARTS President, opened the meeting by asking how many folks were attending their first PARTS meeting. About eight folks were first-time attendees. Some had been to PDXBOT.02, and others had seen the club web page and decided to stop by.
Pete announced that he had some unclaimed nametags and certificates of participation from PDXBOT.02 for robot owners to pick up after the meeting. Pete also passed out product brochures from IVEX and Solutions Cubed (both firms donated products and/or cash for PDXBOT.02).
Pete reported that ORTOP (the Oregon Robotics Tournament and Outreach Program) is planning to expand its activities from one event with 65 teams to three events with over 120 teams, and is seeking technical mentors for teams in the mentors neighborhoods. He urged interested PARTS members to become mentors for these teams of middle school age children.
Pete awarded a raffle prize (Mk III robot kit and PDXBOT.02 tee shirt) to winner Marcus Vincent.
- Matt Ivey showed about 20 minutes of rough-cut video from PDXBOT.02, including some of the static displays, vendor tables, and competitions. He will see about getting copies of video available in different formats after he has had an opportunity to select and edit from all the available video.
- Jonathan Fant showed the current state of FRED. He envisions FRED being able to move around the house, and perhaps retrieve beverages and chase the cat. Missing from the platform he showed were swiveling stages for arms and sensors. FREDs computing power comes from a single-board computer with a Pentium 300 processor, 64 mbytes of RAM, and a 10gbyte hard drive. Jonathan chose a processor from Abia Technology (www.abiatech.com) that needs only a 5-volt supply at 3 amps. FRED has a separate motor drive board with its own processor.
- Eric Stewart showed a small walker he has been working on; he said that he needs to adjust its gait to make it more reliable. The walker uses a 4-chip BEAM controller circuit. He offered surplus resistors to anyone who needed some, and said that he intends to build something with the Parallax BS-2 board that be got from Larry. Hes interested in learning to program in BASIC. Also, Eric attended a Mark Tilden robot workshop in New Mexico last month. He reported that Tilden has designed a humanoid robot that should be available around Christmas for $100 (and lower after that) that is designed to be hackable. Eric said that the walker doesnt have an accelerometer, and manages to maintain its center of gravity through limited motion of its parts.
- Marcus Vincent was a first-time PARTS attendee, and works for Web Trends.
- Stu Caruk brought a couple of BattleBot books, saying that they pretty much list all the technologies that have been used so far. He showed his new Parallax Toddler two-servo walker robot (www.parallaxinc.com/html_files/products/StampsIC/toddler.asp). He said that it has 36 discrete movements to enable it to walk straight forward, backward, or turn. He liked the 3-position power switch that allows builders to download updated programs without having the servos flailing at the same time. He bought a robotic parts retriever arm (originally used with a plastic injection molding machine) at a liquidation sale, and plans to use it in his machine shop for placing materials. He is also building three boats, and has plenty of surplus aluminum sheets in various thicknesses for anyone who is interested in retrieving it.
- Mark Medonis said that he has attended robotics shows in Seattle and San Francisco, and thought that PDXBOT.02 was the equal of those events. He has made drawings for a kit of parts to build a robotic head, and is having Brad Lewiss friend in Molalla laser cut them. He showed the new Cynthia Brazeal book published by MIT Press about building humanoid robots. The book includes a CD with several videos.
- Tim Ressel said he was a first-time PARTS attendee, and looking for a job.
- Monty Goodson said he had recently become interested in harmonic drive gear reduction systems for small robots. He showed two prototypes he had built with small metal gears and a novel arrangement of a toothed belt placed inside a shallow cylinder as a ring gear. He bought his parts at Wacky Willys. One unit had a 50:1 reduction ratio in two stages, and the other had an 82:1 reduction ratio in two stages. He was working on a three-stage unit with an even higher gear reduction ratio.
- Karl Boe was a first-time PARTS attendee who has some 8051 programming experience, and who built a BASIC Stamp BUG robot several years ago. Karl has a Sherline CNC mill and a Hardinge turret lathe, and enjoys making parts. He told the group about a new retail metals store called the Metal Supermarket in Northeast Portland. He said they dont charge for cuts and are eager to sell metals in hobbyist quantities.
- Brett Nelson said that he has been working on robotizing a Teddy Ruxpin toy. He is installing a voice controller board, among other improvements. He got his toy at a thrift store, and it is one of the original models. (Wacky Willys has an entire wall at the back of the store with Teddy Ruxpins stacked to the ceiling for folks who want to duplicate Bretts efforts.)
- Nico Paris and his Dad were first-time PARTS attendees. Nico is building a pyramid robot, and wanted some advice on where to buy reflective metals.
- Pete Skeggs showed his Trashbot with the external container removed. He said that it needs slower motors with more torque, and encoders on its wheels to enable precise tracking. He also showed a new micro servo that Acroname (www.acroname.com) is selling. Pete ordered one hoping that it would be easier to hack. Despite its orange case, it is internally identical to the GWS pico servos that Tim Rohaly is selling. Pete also showed a mini servo from Acroname; the unit is between the standard and micro servos in size. Pete also bought a Brainstem controller board from Acroname. It is programmable in several languages, and cables are available for connections to different computing platforms.
- Paul Kenney was a first-time PARTS attendee who found our club on the web. He built a Rug Warrior robot in the past.
- John Hurley reported that he has been working with drill motors for propulsion. He removed the gear reduction drive and got sufficient rotational speed for a robot drive.
- Andrew Lockhart brought his minisumo robot David 1.
- Robert Pearson said that hed like to get information from someone on serial port connection from a computer to a robot controller. Bobby Pearson said that a loose wire caused him to lose his second minisumo match at PDXBOT.02.
- Larry Geib brought in his sumo ring mask cutting tool for Monty to use. He said that anyone interested in building a bipedal robot should type bipede into Google for a list of resource web sites.
- Dana Weesner said that he still has a few PDXBOT.02 tee shirts available for sale. He has a few checks to deposit, then will provide an official accounting of funds from PDXBOT.02 at the next PARTS executive team meeting.
- Greg Cheong reported that he moved here from Bend, and has built a Mk III robot.
- Tim Weaver brought his minisumo robot Solo and his capacitive touch sensor box.
- Karl Kuchs reported that he is implementing the same vision system used in the PSU soccer robots in his robotic colony.
- Doug Arnold presented Pete Skeggs with a Warren Leach-designed Certificate of Appreciation for all of his work on PDXBOT.02. Warrens design featured a donkey pulling a cart so heavily loaded that the donkey was suspended in midair by its harness a fitting illustration given the amount of work that had to be coordinated to make PDXBOT.02 a success.
- Daryl Sandberg brought his articulated line follower robot. He wasnt able to finish it in time for PDXBOT.02. He also showed a Hamamatsu IR sensor board and a servomotor drive that he had modified for this small IR sensor. He had a box of automotive motors to give away to anyone interested. He is looking for DeWalt 9.6 volt drill motors to build into a Japan-class robot. He also showed his Japan-class robot Boxter that took first place in Seattle two weeks earlier.
- Pete Skeggs showed a brochure from the Pete Beeman exhibit that was recently shown at Marylhurst University. He described how one sculpture broke while he was there when one of its arms was raised into a track lighting system.
The next PARTS meeting will be Saturday, July 6th