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If you don't know me I'm big on electronics. I worked on robotic weapon systems in the Navy, industrial automation as a civilian, product development on embedded systems, and I even had the opportunity to design exhibits for Discovery Science.


Im using my GI Bill, studying Mechatronics (Mechanical, electrical, computer engineering). The engineering comes easy to me, calculus... Not so much. 


Anyway, this semester I have been building a lot of robots. I built a Hexapod for one of my instructors, a humanoid bipod who I'm teaching Kung-fu, quads, & maze solving rovers.


These toys cost thousands of dollars and I wouldn't normally get an opportunity to play.. I mean learn, with them if it weren't for an engineering research class I'm taking. I originally signed up for the class because I was 1 unit short of full time. It didn't take long for me to settle intomore of an active teaching role. I enjoy the field and it's a lot of fun when I get to show-off and teach people who have PH.D. in Physics. 


The is the Hexapod. I built/coded/& debugged it in one day. Lots of work but I wanted to get it finished in order to demo to the High Schoolers.


We are building 6 Quadcopters in the engineering class. I had to solder and configure some GPS modules so I threw together this rig to speed up production.image.thumb.jpeg.c161da238d320a302e53087

My truck was in the shop so I loaded up the wifes Subaru and headed over to an event where I demonstrated some robotics and gadgets for high schoolers.image.thumb.jpeg.ab9ebe4ba12ba67b4ea24c5

Brought along my solar generator. Branded with a TIA sticker, this thing rocks! It powered all my demos while charging my laptop and cellphone. It's a great talking point too ;)


This is the Humanoid robot. I'm teaching him Kung-Fu. Maybe I should teach him to build something? 


Its really a cool kit, able to build many different styles 


including robot T-Rex


*i have some videos but can't seem to post them from my phone


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image.thumb.jpeg.f7f7dcc0f9841014513ce64here's a pic of some of the kids in the engineering class. Dr. Sims in the center on the floor showing the students how to attach motors to a block of wood with plumbing strap. ?


I brough some some tools in that day and for many of the students it was the first time they used a power drill. I think I created a few Milwaukee fanboys/girls. :)


ill get get some pics of the students robots today. 

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Also, moral objections aside, DARPA is hosting a weapons design competition. They want people to build weapons from normal house hold objects. Think macgyver type stuff. Weaponized toasters! TIA inspired weapons? What can we make from power tools?



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We can do better then a flamethrower ? But yes, I actually learned to build a flamethrower from this Russia guy I worked with. 


I uploaded my first YouTube video. Nothing special, just shows the Humanoid doing some moves, including a headstand.


My dog Alley makes an appearance. She doesn't trust technology.



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Well robots are the direction everything is moving. Soon the whole dairy industry will be robotic. They already have robotic alley scrapers. Automatic feeding machines and several companies have their own robotic milkers. The human element is getting rapidly phased out. We are probably going to install robotic milkers at some point because of how quickly they can pay for themselves.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just updating with a new robot build. This one is called the mDrawBot. It's a kit that can be configured into 4 different XY Plotters.


mScara (current configuration) is a robotic arm plotter. Originally designed to clamp onto the edge of a desk. I mounted it to some MDF, finally discovered what MDF was good for. ;)



mSpider: Can draw on horizontal surfaces like a whiteboard. I am going to build this unit next




mEggBot: is great for Decorating Easter Eggs



mCarBot: Maybe useful for making custom parking spot decals. 



I will need to do a TIA Print, but for now here are a few I did. 




The print resolution and quality isn't the best but its pretty cool. I need to work on my video editing skills. :(

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4 hours ago, PROTOOLNUT said:

If I was the robot, I'd turn my head to look at him and say. Push me again and just see what happens. ;)


And in a flash protool nut pulled out his 7 1/4" ryobi circular saw and bevel cut that mother F%&$#* to death!!

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Im actually going to take it apart and configure it to write on a white-board. I have some Kreg T-Track i'm going to use to make an adjustable mount. Something I can take into the classroom and throw up on the board, press a button and away it goes. :) Butt I'll draw a TIA Logo with the arm first.


Today I made a few circuit boards with my friends CNC Mill. I really need a CNC of my own but they are just so damn $$$. I keep hoping Dan will give his away. ;) 


Check out the youtub video I took of the mill in action. This PCB is a shield that attaches to the Arduino Mega board. A few sensors plug into it and turns the Arduino Mega into a flight-control for quad-copters. Nice relaxing music too. 



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  • 2 weeks later...

Another quick robot update. Meet Baxter. He is our latest & greatest 'toy'. Baxter is made by a company called Rethink Robotics. Marketed as an easy to use automation bot, Baxter can be programmed by simply moving his arms. Here is a short video of the first run. I'm just calibrating his arms but next week I'll program him to do something cool. 




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