Friday, April 28, 2006


For those of you who don't know, the Robotics nationals are going on right now.

Below is the link for a video feed to all the fields, if you scroll down you can see the vex field.


I highly suggest looking at the FRC competitions to.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Fighting Robots, in a new way.

Fighting Robots

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Vex Rock Crawler

I decided to start putting up links to vex activities. This one is awesome.

Rock Climber

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Nathan VII - Strafe

So this picture format is going to be super wierd, and I'm sorry but anyways. So this is Strafe. Named for his holonomic drivetrain, Strafe was a very sturdy, well programmed, but weak drivetrained, robot. The third picture shows the add on of a camera mount for my camera, connected to two servos, allowing tilt for the camera. This was really shacky, but still completely awesome. Like all holonomic drive trains, I had four motors at each end, two for left and right, and two for forward and backward. The programming was really good but very simple. I used a four motor
tank drive for the forward/backward/left/right on the right hand joystick. On the left joystick I used a four motor arcade drive for the left/right, but I outsourced the up/down function to channel 6) to twist left or right, (which used all four motors in sync), and the up/down for the camera. After Nathan geared it up, and I added the camera, it started moving a lot slower, but was still very cool. Probably the most complex robot I've built, both Nathan and I were very proud. The motors were only supported in one place, which raised some concerns, but it actually did not matter. As soon as I figure out how to add movies, I'll put some up. The four wheels aren't perfectly perpendicular, but they are all parallel across from eachother, and one set, is one hole longer on one side than the other set, so it was off by about a degree. Lastly, when my friend Yon pushed the buttons for Channel 6, it made the robot go a whole lot faster, in the same direction, even though the programming was the same for the button and the joystick. I wonder why? I'll look into it.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

ROTC and MC explained.

Robot of the Week and Monthly Challenges Explained

Here are some general guidelines for monthly challenges. At the beginning of each month I release a challenge that must be completed in autonomous, with specific rules for that particular challenge. The 4/06 challenge does not allow the use of adhesives, but that doesn't mean they are banned forever. I may put restrictions on the time it takes to complete the assignment, and although I have no way of telling, especially since you are sending me still pictures, I am relying on your honesty.

Your email must be recieved by me, and I use gmail so sometimes there is a lag, by the last day of the month at 11:59:59. However, if no one sends me an email, you can still win by sending me an email, even if it is years later. The first person to send me a picture outside of the time window will be the winner, if its physically possible.

I judge not only on style, but how the drivetrain is, if there is one, aesthetics, how it works, how the person came over a certain obstacle, etc.

For robot of the week, all the pictures I recieve in the past two weeks, will be eligible for robot of the week. I will post this every Saturday, if possible, or as soon after as I can. If no pictures are sent to me, I will pick one of my own robots, and just say what post it is in. The robot of the week demonstrates a creative solution to a problem, does a hard task very simply, or is just really cool, like if you made a motorcycle, and it use omni wheels. That would definatley win you the robot of the week. Just to clear things up. I have the next two monthly challenges already thought out, and I'll give you a hint. The second one also involves lifting, so don't scrap those arms just yet. The third hint will be released when I release the second game.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Nathan VI - The Cannon

My friend Ned built this while he was visiting from Denver. He said it looked like a cannon so hence the name. The picture on the bottom pretty much explains the drivetrian. Ingenius really. This robot could turn. That is an ultrasonic sensor on the top although we never did anything with it. An omni wheel on the front let us turn really really fast. As you can see from the top, the battery didn't really have a place to go, so we just put it anywhere. The motors are connected to gears connected to the wheels. It was good placement, very solid chassis.

Nathan V - The Teacher

So I couldn't find a picture but since it was built I thought I should give it credit. The teacher was the simplest robot built in terms of chassis. It had two sets of parallel rails and two cross beams. The RC and battery were mounted very precariously. We put a bump switch, a light sensor, shaft encoders, and an ultrasonic sensor on various parts. I wrote my first autonomous code with this bot and got it to actually work. It had a four wheel drive which was a first for us.

Nathan IV - The Caterpillar

My friend Nathan built this one. It is similar to the whale, except it obviously uses the tread with a sprocket setup. The arm is direct connect servo. It wasn't that fast, but it worked so we were happy.

Nathan III - The Turtle (Rock/Mr. Wiggles)

The robot on the bottom was The turtle. For some reason it moved so slowly, Nathan and I never did figure out why, but it was a simple tank tread using a chassis similar to that of the box bot, except we had the side plates you see on the top. We are using gears and sprockets attached to motors in the back. The front had a axle all the way across so it couldn't turn. We "fixed" it and this time it wouldn't move at all (the Rock). We took off the treads and got Mr Wiggles on the top. That was the last time we supported the axle in only one spot. LOL...

Nathan II - The Whale

This is the second robot built with my Vex Kit. My 3-year old brother started calling it a whale and the name stuck so... I'm using a two wheel direct connect motor drive for the back two wheels, the front two wheels are free. The arm uses an axle connected to a motor ziptied to the whale. The string is connected to a coller to the axle. The actual arm is connected to a shaft going all the way across the robot in between two collers. The motor turns, acting as a winch, tightens the string, lifts the arm. I got it to lift a sock. It wasn't that strong.

Nathan I - The Square Bot

This is a picture of the first robot my friend Nathan and I built, the one the VEX has directions for. I didn't take pictures, just movies, so this is a frame, so sorry for the bad quality. Thats my friend Nathan kneeling down filming the robot.

April 06 Monthly Challenge

This months challenge is too build a robot that can pick up an american quarter from the floor. You can't use ANY adhesives, no glue, tape, anything of the sort, not even sticky rubber. The coin is considered picked up when it is only in contact with the robot and the air. Remember the robot has to do it in autonomous, but there are no other regulations. You can use as many motors, servos, peices as you want. Send me a picture or preferably video to with the subject VEX Monthly Challenge 4/06. Or just VEX 4/06. Remember to send me those robot pics and I will choose a robot of the week to post.

For both of these you need a short description and a technical description along with your name. All other information is optional.

Toughness rating (out of 10 being hardest) = 6

Monday, April 03, 2006


Well for you FIRST VEX fans out there, Vexrobotics has been shut down. When you go to you get forwarded to Radio Shacks VEX section. Vex Labs has not been shut down, but it hasn't changed. One of my favorite features was the monthly challenge. So I decided to take it upon myself to put out a monthly challenge. You should know the deal. Just email me at with a picture of your robot its name and a short description. All parts are legal but it must do it in autonomous. If you have a video thats even better, but picture is fine as long as its in the act of doing it.

At the same time I'll be posting pics/descriptions/and names of the robots I have created, and every week I'll pick a robot of the week to post as well. To be a part of that just do the same thing as above. Send me your name/pic of robot/robots name/small description of the technical matters/description of what it does. You can also PM me on Chief Delphi my username is Irishninja. And if you like the idea, a few rep points would be nice.