RapiBaBot

The inspiration of this project was to create a self balancing system using a Raspberry Pi computer as the main controller of the entire robot. It was the result of a class project in Dr. Hala ElAarag’s Operating Systems. The inspiration came from a BallBot designed by the Tohoku Gakuin University. The robot showed a smooth transition throughout its balancing period, moving the ball by using 3 omni wheels at 120 degree angles. A video of the Robot is shown below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bI06lujiD7E

The RapiBaBot was designed as a robot that balances itself (a basic reflex agent). The RapiBaBot uses a Raspberry Pi as the main control unit, a Polulu MinIMU-9 v2 Gryo, Accelerometer, and Compass, Big Easy Stepper Motor Driver from Arduino, and the Nema 17 stepper motors. The housing was used from an old Erector set found in Kyle Campbell’s attic, the wheels are off of a Traxxas rc car, and basic bread boards are used to connect the Raspberry Pi with the sensor and the stepper motor drivers. To connect the Nema motors with the wheels a axle was 3d printed and placed over the metal shaft of the motor. The wheels were then screwed on to the 3d printed axle.

The RapiBaBot baisically reads an output from the Polulu sensor and decides which direction it will spin its motors based off of that output. In a more in depth sequence the RapiBaBot reads the output of the sensor, uses a digital filter called a Kalman filter to remove all of the white noise from the output, and then sends the output of the Kalman filter to the PID controller. The PID controller decides then what wheels to spin based off of the location the RapiBaBot and where the RapiBaBot is at currently.

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The RapiBaBot functioned fairly well, resulting a automated self-balancing robot. Issues occured usually when soldering became a problem, many boards were fried and ruined from that. Future improvements might include a system that is a self learning/balaning robot. Also many beards resulted from this project.

Announcing the Innovation House Prize

The Innovation House Prize recognizes the most effective use of the facilities and tools at Innovation House by its members. During the spring, 2014 semester members are invited to compete for a prize by posting details of projects they have been working on at Innovation House during the 2013-2014 academic year to the Innovation House blog. Postings meeting the requirements for the prize will be eligible for one of four $100 awards. The prizes will be announced at an Innovation House reception during the Stetson Showcase on April 15, 2014.

Rules

  1. A submission must represent one or more projects with a substantial amount of work completed at Innovation House during the 2013-2014 academic year. Submissions must come from student members of Innovation House.
  2. A submission consists of two to four postings on the Innovation House blog describing and illustrating the project(s). Each posting must be at least 250 words and include at least two pictures or diagrams. The first posting must be completed between January 13, 2014, and February 17th, 2014. At least one posting must be completed after March 10th. The deadline for all postings constituting a submission is April 7, 2014. Each posting that is part of a submission must have the “IH Prize 2014” category checked.
  3. While the prize will be awarded based on the postings to the Innovation House blog, the physical components of the submission will be examined by one of the judges to verify the claims made about them in the postings.
  4. The postings that comprise a submission should address the following:

A. What was the purpose, intent, or inspiration of the project(s)?
B. How does it build on the work of others? (links are appropriate here)
C. What are the original aspects of your project?
D. What were the materials used and what was the process of construction?
E. What set-backs, failures, or dead-ends did you encounter?
F. How does the final version operate and how well does it meet your original goals?
G. What improvements or enhancements could be developed in the future?

Judges

Criteria for Judging

30% Completion of the requirements for submissions
20% Effective use of Innovation House & its equipment
25% Originality and innovativeness of the project(s)
25% Quality of the writing in the submission posts

To submit a posting to the Innovation House blog, log in with your Stetson ID and password at: http://www2.stetson.edu/innovation/wp-login.php.

Send all questions about the prize to Bill Ball at wball@stetson.edu

Announcement teaser and updates

A major announcement about Innovation House will be posted to this blog on Monday, 1/14/2014. Consider yourself teased.

In preparation for the Spring semester I have made a couple updates to the 3D printing setup. The red laptop connected to the Makerbot had died (after many years of dedicated service). The graphics card is failing. If you have any personal files on that laptop please transfer them off during the first week of classes. Then it will be fed to the wolves.

I have set up a new laptop to run the printer. It should boot into the administrator account, from which you can run the MakerWare application (the one with the “mw” logo). Please do not clutter the desktop with files. It is running Ubuntu 12.04. The administrator password is “digital” if you need it.

Since the build plate that came with the machine is getting pretty beat up, and Makerbot does not sell replacements, I decided to try to fab something. I bought some scrap 3/8″ lexan off ebay cheap (enough make 3 build plates). After lots of carefull sawing, and a bit of cursing, it seems to work. This new build plate is thicker, stronger, and much more scratch resistant than the original acrylic one. Please be careful removing it and inserting it. Start with the back clip and gently push it into place. It’s a very snug fit and I don’t want to break the clips. Although lexan is very tough, it can be scratched so let’s see how long we can keep this one from getting scratched up.

If you want to use the old build plate, I will leave it by the printer. Remember that you will need to re-level the axis if you switch from one plate to the other. I think you will like the new one much better, but I have not tried it with any really large or long prints.

The white board is accumulating a lot of warnings born of anguish. Is this our wailing wall?

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The case of the phone cases

After playing it safe on the first couple of attempts at vacuum forming, a couple members gathered up their courage and put their phones on the machine. A couple of nice phone cases were the results. I’m not sure I’d drop melted plastic directly on to my phone, but it was fun to watch and I guess all’s well that ends well.

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Innovation House pulls up limp

 

[update: power fully restored on 11/14, 3D printer working on shorter jobs--haven't fully investigated the problem on long jobs yet]

I sent the following e-mail out to all registered users of IH today:

We are having a couple of issues at Innovation House that I need to notify you about.
1. There seems to a partial power outage. This is affecting the outlets in and near the closet. Unfortunately this includes all network capabilities (including the dropcam). I put in a call to facilities to work on it (after I checked the breakers of course).
2. The makerbot 3D printer is giving thermal shutdown faults on long print jobs. We have started working with Makerbot to sort this out. I tried a 20 minute print and it was fine. Anything over a hour may not finish until we get this fixed.
I will send another e-mail when these problems have been resolved.
Bill Ball

Things happen and I hope to have a 100% operational death star again soon.

 

 

Vacuum Forming — Does it Really Suck?

It’s time to play with vacuum forming. Below is a poll. Pick your favorite date/time and I will get back to everyone with the final choice. All you need to bring with you is some roughly mound shaped object smaller than 12″x12″ that you want to pull a mold from. We will be draping melting plastic on it so no (live) body parts or highly perishable items. Or just show up and look for found items. Some ideas can be found in my earlier post .

Also it’s a good chance to get your lab safety check-off and basic tool briefing if you have not done that yet.

[update: workshop scheduled for Wednesday, November 20 at 4 pm]

If I can find my can of Instamorph we will play with that as a bonus.

 

Make a copy of your head

Now that people have had a chance to print out stuff from Thingiverse.com it’s time to get more creative with the 3D printer. Autodesk has an interesting free product called 123D Catch (http://www.123dapp.com/catch). This allows you to take a series of photos of a 3D object, upload them to their cloud service–which stitches them together into a 3D model, and print the model out.

I tried it this morning with a gargoyle off of my bookcase and got a decent result with very little clean up time.

garg1

 

 

 

 

 

 

garg2

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is encouraging enough that  I think we should schedule a night to make copies of things. Things may include people in the room. Here is a poll for you to vote on which night next week to do this. Pick the night that will work best for you.

(Poll closed)

123D Catch experimentation session is Tuesday, Oct 29 at 6:30 pm

You will want to bring:

  1. Something to copy (could be yourself).
  2. Something to take pictures with (cell phone, camera, webcam). You will need to upload your pictures to the 123D site.
  3. A laptop, ipad, or iphone.

We will not be able to print all the models out in one night, but can certainly capture a bunch of stuff and work on preparing it for printing.

Stetson wins Sparkfun dubstep props

“That was some of the coolest dubstep innovations that we’ve seen on tour. Seriously.”

 – Lindsay Craig, SparkFun Electronics

We had a great day with the Sparkfun National Tour workshop. It started with TV coverage, music, and cheer leading, which we are pretending was for us. Then a full day workshop with the Sparkfun Inventor’s Kit led by Linz, Angela, and Will. A small gallery of pictures follow.

The Inventor’s kits are available for use anytime in Innovation House. Arrangements will be made to have a few available for check out at the Library.

The circus comes to Stetson

Yesterday one of the Orlando TV stations did their morning broadcast from Stetson. They did short segment on Innovation House. Well, sort of, since they misidentified it as the “Invention Club”, managed to misspell the word “college”, and misidentified one of our visiting instructors from Sparkfun as a Stetson student. They also skipped the PDLork demo from Digital Arts entirely. I knew we would be in trouble when the reported asked for a current invention and didn’t know what a fitness tracker was. At any rate, the clip is here:

http://www.myfoxorlando.com/story/23729021/good?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=9430276

BTW: he had just learned what a planetary gear set is 30 seconds before air time.

Shop Tools and Shop Safety Workshop

The Stetson ACM chapter is hosting the following workshop on the evening of October 21st. Not only will it give you the chance to learn how to use the basic tools in Innovation House, it will certify you on safety so that you will be able to use them whenever you like.

tools_workshop