Thursday, October 28, 2010

New Robot Project!

A friend of mine at work has had an R2-D2 full sized robot that he has been working on for years. He's got the frame and a bunch of parts including a nice dome. However he's not really a programmer or electronics type, more of a mechanical and artist type. So we decided to work together to finally complete R2-D2. I'll be working on the electronics together with him, and doing all the programming. Here's a couple pictures of the "prototype phase" where it's got temporary wood feet and most of the outer "skin" is not in place.

The main body is made mostly of wood, the legs are aluminum, and there is a metal pipe going through the middle connecting the two side legs together. There are a whole bunch more parts that will eventually go onto this frame and make it look like the real deal, but those are in boxes waiting until we get all the mechanical and electrical stuff worked out.

The center leg has a mechanism to allow it to be retracted up into the body using a power window motor. However, that is not functional yet, so it's just locked in place. Long term we want to make it so that it can transition from 3 foot mode to two foot mode and back, but that will require a lot of work and before then we want to get it driving around in 3 foot mode, and get the dome working (able to rotate around and with all the lights/displays).

Below is a close up of one of the prototype feet showing the motor and wheels.
We're using a Parallax 12v motor kit with a different tire mounted to the hub along with a Parallax HB-25 motor controller. This is the same drive mechanism I have on my Wood Platform Robot (mentioned in my blog a while ago). We're also using an omni wheel (the same one that's on the Stingray robot) to stabilize the foot and allow for a differential drive system. We'll be running power and signal wires up through the legs into the main body where we'll have some 12v SLA batteries, and a Propeller Proto board that I am putting together with connections to an R/C receiver. This will let us drive it around easily while we work out any issues/details with the feet and drive wheels.