Build More Robots Tutorial Series 2 – Starts Mar 21th

— Tutorial Series CANCELED due to COVID-19 virus situation —

Want to build a robot? Here is your chance to do it, with some help, and in a group of similarly minded individuals. The Build More Robots Series consists of 4 sessions, each 2 hours long, held on consecutive Saturdays. The sessions will cover the assembly of the robot, basic Arduino programming, line following robots, and sumo robots. In the line following and sumo sessions, you will reconfigure your robot to accomplish line following and sumo robot functions. There may even be some friendly competition!

The series is aimed at beginners. Prior knowledge is not necessary.  The classes are open to everyone, including students, however, note that the classes move quickly, and the classes may not be a good fit for young students.

To join the series, you must bring at least the robot kit, batteries, tools, and $5 to the 1st session. The sensors will be needed in the following sessions.

You also must sign up for the class at:

https://calendar.dallasmakerspace.org/events/view/15255

Seating is limited so sign up quickly. A count of students is needed to make sure that enough Platform Upgrade Kits are available.

It is also suggested that you get your robot kit and sensors as soon as possible.

Total Cost:    ~$40.00 for parts (note: parts are listed below, tools not included in cost).

Sessions:

Mar 21 at noon  –  Robot Build Session

Mar 28 at noon  –  Basic Arduino Programming Session

Apr 4 at noon  –  Line Following Robot Session

Apr 11 at noon  –  Sumo Robot Session

What you will need:

  1. Robot Kit  – https://smile.amazon.com/VKmaker-Avoidance-tracking-Ultrasonic-tutorial/dp/B01CXVA6IO/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=smart+car+robot&qid=1580782367&sr=8-3, or similar.
  2. Sensors – https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B01I57HIJ0/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 , or similar.
  3. Platform Upgrade Kit – Provided by instructor at a nominal cost ($5).
  4. 6 AA Alkaline batteries.
  5. A Philips head screwdriver (#1), a small pair of pliers, wire strippers (optional), and wire cutters (optional).

    Example set of tools

The session descriptions:

Build More Robots Series – Robot Build Session

In this first session, you will need the robot kit, platform upgrade kit, batteries, and tools. During the session we will build the robot together and learn about the different components of the robot while we build.

Build More Robot Series – Basic Arduino Programming Session

You have built the robot, now what? In this session of the Build More Robots Series we will explore how to program the robot’s Arduino microcontroller board. We will learn the different commands, and how to develop a programming style that makes the process more organized and easier to change. The session is geared for the novice and should help anyone move up the learning curve with confidence.

Build More Robot Series – Line Following Session

In this session of the Build More Robots Series we will explore how to make our robot follow a line. We will cover some of the sensor strategies used in line following, then build our line following sensor using the infrared obstacle avoidance sensor modules that we purchased. After assembling and mounting our new sensor, we will program a basic line following program using what we learned in the Arduino Programming session. You will need the listed sensors for this and the next session.

Build More Robot Series – Sumo Session

What is Sumo? When talking robots, we mean a competition where two robots are placed in a circular arena and proceed to try and push each other out of the arena. It is a sort of bumper cars for robots. In this session of the Build More Robots Series, we will discuss basic strategies used by Sumo robots, and why they are used. We will also modify our robot into a Sumo robot and demonstrate a basic robot sumo program. Next, we battle!

Graduation Competition

After the last session, the attendees will have a chance to test their robot in a friendly competition. They may also consider attending DPRG’s Roborama on April 25th, and competing for prizes.

Have Questions?

You can contact the instructor by emailing info(at)dprg.org.

IRON REIGN Presents their Newest Robot – Monthly Meeting Topic – Feb 8th, 2020

One of our favorite First Tech Challenge robot teams, Iron Reign, will present their newest champion robot at DPRG’s February monthly meeting. This robot was built to solve the current First tech challenge, titled Skystone. The robot competes to build a structure made of 4x8x5 inch blocks in 2.5 minutes while buzzing around a 12’x12′ arena with 3 other robots. As with all First Tech challenges there are multiple of complications. A full description of the challenge can be found at Skystone video. Competitive robots can build a structure of 6 feet or more.

Iron Reign’s robots always have cool and clever mechanisms that will delight anyone interested in robotics.

Come join the fun at the DPRG Feb 8th monthly meeting at the Dallas Makerspace in the Interactive Room. Presentation starts at noon.

This is a wonderful opportunity to see and ask questions about a really neat and interesting robot.

Scarily Realistic Animatronic Spider – Monthly Meeting Topic – Dec 14th, 2019

Link to John’s slidedeck: slidedeck

December’s DPRG monthly meeting ventures into the frightful, with a presentation on the construction of a scarily realistic animatronic spider that happens to be ~4-feet in diameter.

John Gauthier conceived of this spider as a Halloween project. His presentation will carry us all the way from its layout in SketchUp to its final implementation. The spider is remotely controlled by a data glove and a switch wand. Movement of the robot is done with stepper motors and Microchip PIC MCUs. A Raspberry Pi handles the sounds. Communication between the controls and the spider are accomplished by using nRF24L01+ RF transceiver modules. The project utilizes custom build PCBs, 3D printing, and fabric crafts to create a truly impressive result.

The spider in all its glory (or is that gory) will be lurking at the DPRG December 14th monthly meeting at the Dallas Makerspace in the Interactive Room. Presentation starts at noon.

This is a wonderful opportunity to see how to conceive and execute a complex project. Don’t miss it!

FALL Competition Update

By now, you should know that the DPRG Fall Competition has been moved from November 9th to November 16th, but do you know that the rules for the Donkey Car competition have been released and the training times scheduled? You can find out the details on the DPRG Fall 2019 Competition page.

Date change: Competition will be held on November 16th, 2019.

Donkey Car Training: 10:00 AM to Noon.

Donkey Car (DPRG version) Rules:  donkey_car-dprg_version_v20191014

Practical LiDAR for Hobbyist Roboticists

Scott’s slide deck: slide deck (PDF)

Followers of DPRG’s competitions are familiar with Scott Gibson’s very successful robot CanMan. CanMan utilizes a spinning LiDAR manufactured  by RPLidar (~$100). In competitions where the arena is bounded by walls, CanMan’s LiDAR allows the robot to reacquire its location even after a collusion with walls or other robots.

At the October 12th DPRG monthly meeting Scott is going to share how you can add a similar LiDAR to your robot. The presentation will take a quick look at the serial interface and data fields used by the RPLidar unit, and then dive deep into how to use this data.

Scott will discuss the algorithms and code that he uses to:

  • Find the center of the arena,
  • Align to an arena wall,
  • Detect an outside edge,
  • Detect an inside edge.

This is a great opportunity to learn about how to use a spinning LiDAR unit.

The meeting is at the Dallas Maker Space and starts at Noon on Saturday, October 12th.

Robot Showcase at DevFest 2018

Dev Fest Weekend (Dallas) was held on October 13th at the Microsoft campus in Irving. DPRG was there. The club presented a showcase of robots and competitions during the lunch session of the conference. Members demonstrated “Can-Can Soccer”, a competition where two robots autonomously collect cans from a 7′ X 10′ course and return them to their goal, and various levels of line following from simple to challenging. The showcase was viewed enthusiastically by many conference attendees with DPRG members fielding multiple questions about the robots and strategies used.

Below is a picture of members who participated in the showcase.

Left to right: Will Kuhnle, Steve Edwards, Ray Casler, Carl Ott, David Anderson, David Ackley, Scott Gibson (kneeling), John Kuhlenschmidt, Doug Paradis, Jack Jones, Clay Timmons, Ron Grant. Also attending was member Thomas Eriksson (not in picture).