All posts by CH

Robot Wheel Options

macerobotics

When building a mobile robot, one of the easiest ways to allow it to roam about is to use a wheel on either side in a sort of tank-like configuration. An example from Macerobotics is shown in the image above. On the other hand, it’s a good idea to consider other options. Tank treads, Mecanum, and omni-wheels are all viable options.

Omni Wheels

One clever wheel option, which according to Wikipedia was patented in 1919, is the omni wheel. These devices, which have smaller rollers attached at 90° to the larger wheel’s axis of rotation can be extremely useful because of their ability to move items in two directions. In fact, they can often be seen transporting boxes in factories. Importantly for this discussion though, these wheels can be combined in the angular orientation seen above to allow a robot to slide and turn in any direction.

Mecanum Wheel

Another interesting option is Mechanum wheels. Instead of secondary rollers being attached at 90° to the main wheel, they’re attached at 45°. This means that a vehicle can be set up with the wheels in an orientation similar to a traditional car; when all the wheels move forward, the robot also moves forward. The trick comes when the wheels are rotated in different directions, allowing it to turn and slide in a similar manner to how omni wheels work.

So which type of wheel or drive system is the right choice for your next project? Of course it all depends on the situation, but its at least a good idea to keep different options in mind. Grab some more inspiration for you upcoming builds by browsing the Robot and Drone parts on Tindie!

The post Robot Wheel Options appeared first on Tindie Blog.

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Robot Wheel Options

macerobotics

When building a mobile robot, one of the easiest ways to allow it to roam about is to use a wheel on either side in a sort of tank-like configuration. An example from Macerobotics is shown in the image above. On the other hand, it’s a good idea to consider other options. Tank treads, Mecanum, and omni-wheels are all viable options.

Omni Wheels

One clever wheel option, which according to Wikipedia was patented in 1919, is the omni wheel. These devices, which have smaller rollers attached at 90° to the larger wheel’s axis of rotation can be extremely useful because of their ability to move items in two directions. In fact, they can often be seen transporting boxes in factories. Importantly for this discussion though, these wheels can be combined in the angular orientation seen above to allow a robot to slide and turn in any direction.

Mecanum Wheel

Another interesting option is Mechanum wheels. Instead of secondary rollers being attached at 90° to the main wheel, they’re attached at 45°. This means that a vehicle can be set up with the wheels in an orientation similar to a traditional car; when all the wheels move forward, the robot also moves forward. The trick comes when the wheels are rotated in different directions, allowing it to turn and slide in a similar manner to how omni wheels work.

So which type of wheel or drive system is the right choice for your next project? Of course it all depends on the situation, but its at least a good idea to keep different options in mind. Grab some more inspiration for you upcoming builds by browsing the Robot and Drone parts on Tindie!

The post Robot Wheel Options appeared first on Tindie Blog.

via Tindie

Robot Wheel Options

macerobotics

When building a mobile robot, one of the easiest ways to allow it to roam about is to use a wheel on either side in a sort of tank-like configuration. An example from Macerobotics is shown in the image above. On the other hand, it’s a good idea to consider other options. Tank treads, Mecanum, and omni-wheels are all viable options.

Omni Wheels

One clever wheel option, which according to Wikipedia was patented in 1919, is the omni wheel. These devices, which have smaller rollers attached at 90° to the larger wheel’s axis of rotation can be extremely useful because of their ability to move items in two directions. In fact, they can often be seen transporting boxes in factories. Importantly for this discussion though, these wheels can be combined in the angular orientation seen above to allow a robot to slide and turn in any direction.

Mecanum Wheel

Another interesting option is Mechanum wheels. Instead of secondary rollers being attached at 90° to the main wheel, they’re attached at 45°. This means that a vehicle can be set up with the wheels in an orientation similar to a traditional car; when all the wheels move forward, the robot also moves forward. The trick comes when the wheels are rotated in different directions, allowing it to turn and slide in a similar manner to how omni wheels work.

So which type of wheel or drive system is the right choice for your next project? Of course it all depends on the situation, but its at least a good idea to keep different options in mind. Grab some more inspiration for you upcoming builds by browsing the Robot and Drone parts on Tindie!

The post Robot Wheel Options appeared first on Tindie Blog.

via Tindie

Robot Wheel Options

macerobotics

When building a mobile robot, one of the easiest ways to allow it to roam about is to use a wheel on either side in a sort of tank-like configuration. An example from Macerobotics is shown in the image above. On the other hand, it’s a good idea to consider other options. Tank treads, Mecanum, and omni-wheels are all viable options.

Omni Wheels

One clever wheel option, which according to Wikipedia was patented in 1919, is the omni wheel. These devices, which have smaller rollers attached at 90° to the larger wheel’s axis of rotation can be extremely useful because of their ability to move items in two directions. In fact, they can often be seen transporting boxes in factories. Importantly for this discussion though, these wheels can be combined in the angular orientation seen above to allow a robot to slide and turn in any direction.

Mecanum Wheel

Another interesting option is Mechanum wheels. Instead of secondary rollers being attached at 90° to the main wheel, they’re attached at 45°. This means that a vehicle can be set up with the wheels in an orientation similar to a traditional car; when all the wheels move forward, the robot also moves forward. The trick comes when the wheels are rotated in different directions, allowing it to turn and slide in a similar manner to how omni wheels work.

So which type of wheel or drive system is the right choice for your next project? Of course it all depends on the situation, but its at least a good idea to keep different options in mind. Grab some more inspiration for you upcoming builds by browsing the Robot and Drone parts on Tindie!

The post Robot Wheel Options appeared first on Tindie Blog.

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Hand in Hand Clock Kit

handclock1

Being an avid Internet browser (quite an accomplishment, right?) and, perhaps more notably, a person who writes for several publications involving unique DIY projects, I’ve seen a lot of clocks. Binary clocks, Nixie clocks, countless variations on mechanical clocks, somehow I continue to be impressed with what people come up with.

This latest clock, on display in a video from 2015 below, uses an exposed series of gears driven by a DC motor, and is kept in line by an optical reflex sensor to measure the gear speed. The coolest feature of the clock though, is that the minute hand is attached to the hour hand. Via the exposed gears, it travels around the center of the clock, rotating on the hour hand, in a manner similar to the movement of the planets in our solar system.

The device is 3D-printable, with files and more info on the build available here. According to the original author, its not that hard to make, claiming that the electronics are the hardest part. If, on the other hand, you’d rather just buy one in kit form, the Mektok has them available with a few changes to improve the device’s reliability and accuracy.

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R/C Servo Signal Trigger for Extra Control

trigger1

When you’re building a robot or remote controlled vehicle, you have a fundamental choice to make. Do you go with some sort of WiFi or Bluetooth control, that while flexible, is subject to limited range and possible setup complications, or use a “traditional” R/C transceiver setup? This presents its own set of limitations, but can offer very long-range operation, as well as ready-made accessories.

One of these R/C limitations is that control is limited by the number of channels available. In a 2-channel R/C car, for example, this would be one channel for forwards/backwards and one for left/right. You can’t just add controls for lights, a horn, etc. without a physically different transmitter and receiver (Tx/Rx) — at least not normally.

This R/C Servo Signal Trigger, however, solves this issue by hijacking the signal that normally goes to a servo or speed controller from your receiver, and adds a relay. The signal passes to the servo or speed controller as normal, but when you push a newly-added button on your transmitter, it sends a maximum position signal to your receiver that it normally wouldn’t experience. The circuit sees this as a button push and responds appropriately.

Though you’ll need to do some equipment modification to get this to work, and there is a possibility of some servo movement when triggered, it looks like a great solution when you need an extra output.

trigger2

And if you’re wondering about more than one button/signal, according to its creator, several of these units could be used in an R/C setup on multiple channels. Alternatively, several triggers could even be used on the same channel with multiple trigger points at different signal levels, presenting all kinds of possibilities.

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Make Your Project Stand out with Great Photography and Video

Photo: PJ Accetturo

Photo: PJ Accetturo

For the last few months I’ve been working on a motorized device with Strandbeest-style legs called the ClearWalker. As seen in the image above, it looks fantastic. I’d like to think this is a function of its clear polycarbonate construction, or the array of LEDs attached across its body. Though I’m not going to be insincerely modest and say that had nothing to do with it, check out the picture I took in my garage below:

Photo: Jeremy S. Cook

Photo: Jeremy S. Cook

From a mechanical standpoint, I’d argue that this is still an interesting photo. You can see the linkages, lots of LEDs, and wiring. All things that are appreciated by Tindie product connoisseurs, but it obviously looks much less pretty here than in the image. In fact, it’s very hard to envision just how beautiful these LEDs and the clear construction is in this drab backdrop, and rather lackluster photography. At least it’s an improvement on this one, taken with my smartphone:

Photo: Jeremy S. Cook

Photo: Jeremy S. Cook

So I think you see what I’m getting at. Though this device isn’t for sale, you can see lots of examples of excellent, as well as poor photography on Tindie. If you’d like to make people think (hopefully accurately) that your product is awesome, don’t forget to take that final step and take great photographs and/or video!

Photo: PJ Accetturo

Photo: PJ Accetturo

In this case, a better cameraman took video for me, which may or may not be worth it depending on your situation. Even if that’s not practical, a simple white background (e.g. a white sheet) and clamp lights can produce great results. But for spectacular backdrops it is hard to beat nature. Look at your neighborhood with new eyes and you’ll start to notice places that will make epic photo shoot locations like the wet sands shown above.

Additionally, thinking about the issues your particular build will have when photographed will pay off too. If your project uses a lot of LEDs you’ll need to compensate for the unnatural brightness of a small part of the scene. You’ll also need to consider consider how PWM or multiplexing effects are used. In these cases, LEDs are flashing faster than the human eye can see, but not faster than the camera shutter. Here’s a guide to photographing LEDs, which you may find useful.

Think about the angle at which you are taking the photo. Does it show off the hardware in an interesting way? Often this is a camera angle that is not straight-on, but to one side or another and at a higher or lower angle. Take way more images than you need, and review them before you move anything in the scene. This gives you the chance to quickly reshoot if there are focus problems or the lighting needs to be adjusted. And frame the image larger than you need so that you have room to crop it to your desired view later on.

It’s also worth noting that Tindie sellers should consider at least two distinctly different types of photographs: those used to sell the item and those showing how to build/use it. You are marketing a product to pull in potential users; the first set of photos should serve that purpose. Show the item in a way that will immediately drive home its purpose. But don’t stop there. After you’ve sparked some interest, your target user will want to see what’s inside the case, and what’s involved in building a kit or setting up a product.

Look around and find images from other sellers that you find really stunning. Try to figure out how they did it (don’t be afraid to ask, Tindarians are a friendly bunch). And it never hurts to have a friend who’s into photography to show you the ropes, or even take some shots for you. If you’d like to see more of the Accetturo’s excellent images, check out his video edit below, or my longer howto video after that:

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