I am looking for people who would like to be part of a project to develop and make available a cheap robotics platform for would-be makers. A concept statement follows:
Robot50 Program Description
Goals for builders
To learn basic maker skills on an inexpensive and extendable starter project to the extent that they may independently pursue new projects. These skills include:
Fabrication (cutting, drilling, assembly). The project will be suitable for fabrication from commonly available materials with hand tools, but with the option for learning basic CNC work and 3D design and printing.
Electronics (introductory soldering and working with both prefabricated electronic modules and basic components and wiring). Parts will be inexpensive, commonly available, and well supported.
Programming (installing a programming environment, setting up drivers, and working within a high-level programming environment). The programming environment will be wildly accessible but allow for professional-level work.
Skill at participating in physical and online support communities of peers.
Goals for developers
To learn how to shepherd a project from idea through prototypes, community building, crowd-sourced funding, to project evolution and support.
The starter project
The program’s initial focal point will be providing access to a small, autonomous robot design that uses the Arduino microcontroller and costs approximately $50 to build.
The target audience is individuals or groups age 16+ who aren’t afraid to learn to use saws, drills, or soldering irons, to install software, share what they learn, or make mistakes.
Construct a series of prototypes of the starter project.
Based on a final prototype, prepare a bill of materials, a list of part vendors, a set of assembly and set up instructions, and basic software libraries.
Disseminate the project online, at maker events, and with local partners to obtain feedback.
Conduct a crowd-sourced funding campaign to finance a run of kits.
Prepare and disseminate the kits. Support the project with robust online information and community.
Generate new starter project ideas advancing the same general goals. Provide a path to graduate builders to developers.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
At this point I am in stage 1. I would like to get to stage 3 for the Tampa Makercon in April and/or Orlando Makerfaire in September. To whet your appetite, here is a picture of the prototype I am currently playing with (i.e. testing to destruction).
There are a number of ways for anyone who is interested to get involved. It would be great if one or two students would like to get seriously involved: building their robots, developing code libraries and helping to populate a website and promote the project. I hope it could lead to a summer SURE grant for somebody (application due 3/11). Maybe a senior project in Computer Science. But there are less intensive ways to get involved also. Anyone who is interested should get in touch with me: email@example.com
Learn how to create 3D objects for printing on one of Stetson’s 3D printers using the simple, online and free application Tinkercad. You will be creating objects inside a web browser within a few minutes with no previous experience necessary. Your work will be saved online and you can print out your creation whenever you like. The introduction to Tinkercad will take about 30 minutes, so come by anytime between 4 and 5 to get started.
Although we are currently wrapping up the semester, I’d like to get you input on what to do for a workshop series when the spring semester starts. Below is a poll for possible workshops. All of these would be at the introductory level. They would be 60 to 90 minutes in length. Where possible you would leave with a finished product in hand. Please check all of the workshops that you would take. Don’t just check everything, which is of no help, but check just the ones that you would make the time to attend. This will help me prioritize what to offer. The workshops will start the first week of the Spring semester at a time, date, and place to be announced.
Stetson has organized successful exhibits at all three of the Orlando MakerFaires. Here is another opportunity to be the cool kids.
On April 18, 2015 Gulf Coast MakerCon will be held at the Florida Fairgrounds (East of Tampa). Although the MakerCon is an hour further away than the Orlando event, it comes at a much better time of year, when you all should have some great projects to showcase. In fact it’s a week after Stetson Showcase so you can double down on anything you prepare for that.
They plan to host “80-100 makers, with expanded outdoor exhibits, a large scale *fighting robots *competition, a *ComicCon*, a *Young Makers Corner* and a *Steampunk Ball* after party for makers and guests.” Apparently they are fond of asterisks as well.
If you would like to be part of a Stetson booth at this event, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t worry about transportation or fees, just start thinking about what you might share with Gulf Coast makers.
E-nable is a project to develop open source designs for prosthetic limbs, print out parts on 3-D printers, assemble them, and provide them to people around the world who need them. http://enablingthefuture.org/
Is there a group of Innovation House members that would like to be part of this project? If there is sufficient interest we can acquire the parts kits and start making and distributing these. If you would like to be involved please e-mail me at email@example.com
The duPont-Ball Library now owns a UPrint SE Plus 3D printer. The printer offers high-end ABS filament printing with dissolvable rafting/scaffolding. Because of the cost of this machine and the cost of the materials to support it, this printer is restricted to academic print jobs by appointment Monday-Friday beginning at 8:30 am. Print jobs must be completed by 5:00 pm. Other print jobs may be done any time the library is open on the library’s two MakerBot printers which do NOT require reservations.”
Stetson was well represented at the 3rd year of the Orlando Makerfaire at the Orlando Science Center by a booth organized through Innovation House.
Our team of students, staff, and faculty for this year consisted of: Christian Micklisch, Dan Nunez, Vanna Blasczak, Nathan Hilliard, Katie Porterfield, Dun Burrhus, Dan Lane, Harry Price, Michael Branton, and Bill Ball.
It’s never too early to start working on projects to bring next year!
The equipment available for member use at Innovation House is listed on our gear page. In addition, DuPont-Ball library has equipment available for student use. This includes 2 Makerbot 3d printers. One of these printers is a Replicator 2X which offers a dual filament option. The library also has a Makerbot Digitizer, designed to make 3D scans of small objects. Ask at the circulation desk for guidance on using this equipment.
We are seeking projects from the Stetson community to be demonstrated at the Faire. If you have something you would like to show and can spare half a day on either Saturday or Sunday, please get in touch with me (Bill Ball) at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
Even if you are not bringing a project for the Stetson booth you should go to this. I can help coordinate car-pooling. Tickets for the faire are available on their site.