Sunday, May 22, 2011

Droid-Con: Before, During and After

First I'd like to say I'm sorry for taking a whole week to post updates about last weekend. I started a new job last Monday and I've been very busy with that.

So, to start, on Thursday, May 12, I assembled R6-C9 for a test run of the foot drive and to check all the other parts and electronics.
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

Here's the new mounting bolts I mentioned in the previous post.
Mounting bolt Mounting bolt New mounting hole

Here's a video of R6's first time trying to move.

Now the Director's Commentary:
Part 1:
Funny how few things work the very first time the way you thought it would. What's that noise? A loose belt in the right-foot. Easy fix. But here's where I make my first mistake which I'll regret later on. I started out with the wheels in the front of the foot shells but while I was fixing the loose belt I flip-flopped them so the wheels were in the back of the foot shells. I had reasoned that having the wheels in the back would give better weight support. More on that later.

Part 2:
OK, bigger problem here. If you look closely at the outer feet you'll see the front of them touching the floor. That's why R6 couldn't move. The feet were dragging into the carpet. I had forgotten I needed to lock the ankles (center foot included) so the foot shells don't rotate on the ankle onto the floor. Now here's where I went brain dead. Normally I would have waited until I could get to the shop to study the problem and make some wooden blocks to hold the foot shells in place. But because the Droid-Con was the next day I decided to cut some metal blocks in my apartment and J.B. Weld them to the foot shells. In order to J.B. Weld I needed to sand the paint off a spot on each foot shell where I would place the blocks. Clamp the pieces in and let dry over night.

Part 3:
Friday Morning, First day of Droid-Con.
OK. So it didn't work. Except for the center foot, the blocks held in place, however, the wood is too soft and so was bending around the blocks, or the blocks where digging into the wood. I had to think fast. Only a couple of hours until Droid-Con starts. I decided to drill a whole through the foot shells and the ankles on the outer feet and use a bolt to hold them in place. I placed blocks under the feet to hold them in the position I wanted and drilled away.
Ankle Lock

Part 4:
It works!!! OK, disassemble, load up and head out. Next stop DROID-CON!

One problem I was still having was with the center foot. While going forward it works fine. But if I go backwards the foot tilts up and R6 gets stuck. During the 'Con I got several ideas on how to fix this (bolts, ankle blocks, different ankle design) which I'll deal with later.

So I get to the Hotel, assemble R6 in the parking lot and as luck would have it....more problems. Because I flip-flopped the motor brackets the steering was backwards. Left was right and Right was left. A simple wire flip-flop corrected this. But then the power went out. Turned out to be a loose wire between the main switch and the PCB tray. I did a temporary fix and off he went.

Here's some photos and video I took while there.

Now notice how R6 has trouble turning. This is mostly because the wheels are far from the center of the body. So if I switch them around again I'll be able to perform tighter and better controlled turns. Locking the center ankle and foot will also help.

Had a great time at Droid-Con. I met several people who live in other parts of Indiana. There were several panels with someone talking about a particular aspect of droid building such as weathering, dome building, electronics, etc.. The Hotel staff was also very friendly and let us get away with things like using the droids to "floor-ski" in the hallways. Some of the guys are a little crazy, LOL. There's already talk about the next one and it very well may be back at the same Hotel.

So post 'Con work. First is to put the drive wheels in the front of the feet as I originally had it, and which I have already done, although this required drilling new ankle locking bolt holes in the foot shells.
Second is to buy the styrene I need to finish the head. I had an idea about getting a cone shape on the top which would negate having to make a new head....if it works. I'll explain that when I try it.
Third, the center foot is a half-inch higher than the outer feet. To solve this I'll just remove that much off the bottom of the center foot wheel mount.
Forth, everything else.

I'm going to take a little break (about a month maybe) so I can settle into my new job. Then back to building.


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