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Robots and Education February 3, 2014

Posted by regan222 in build, Computer and Technology, Computers and Internet, DIY, Educational Ranting.
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It has been a long and tiring first day.  The TCEA 2014 conference is well and truly underway.  I take here a moment to organize thoughts and ideas sparked by what I saw.

First, we need to promote the robot class within the community.  We have a good start with winning third place in the Region X contest but we need to promote the course and its students to the school board as well as the younger classes.  We need people to continue.  We need to generate interest.  We especially need to promote the technology aspects to girls.  They stabilize and moderate the class.  Plus, they travel in pairs.  Like going to the Ladies’ Room; if you can get one girl you will get two.

Next, we need to secure all the funding sources we can find, especially in the community.  We need tech. industry contacts to help with grants and sponsorships.

We need to expand out from Lego, particularly in the direction of DIY (Arduino, Parallax, STAMP,or whatever).  I need to find out what is most useful in industry and what offers the best chance for employment success for my kids and emphasize that.  We need to be relevant.

Finally I need supper and a nap.  I am pooped and over stimulated.  It’s like going to Vegas; fun for a while but soon you get that headachy muzzy feeling that comes from too many people and too many conversations going on at once.  Tomorrow we do Smart Board Content Creation.  See you then.Lego puppy


DIY Hovercraft Day 2: Do you have the Guts?? August 13, 2013

Posted by regan222 in build, Computer and Technology, DIY, General Ranting, hobby, hovercraft, Science and Technology, Sculpt.
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Why yes, thanks for asking, I DO have the guts. I salvaged an old toy class RC car and now I have a drive motor for the directional fan as well as a servo to swing that fan from side to side. They are already hooked up to a 27 MHz radio receiver and I also have a radio transmitter that talks to them. I have all the pieces in place to build my hovercraft. Now I just need to figure out exactly how to mount the servo, directional fan/motor, and batteries onto the chassis. Tomorrow I will work out those details and then take a moment to paint before I hook everything up.


Yeah…I know it seems kind of a shame to take apart such a classic example of American er Japanese know-how.  But it only cost $9.00



And after some minor surgery we have a 7 volt motor, a servo, and a 27 MHz receiver along with various gears and bits to mount onto the hovercraft.


Remember to feel free to comment (constructively) as the project moves along.

DIY Remote Control Hovercraft August 12, 2013

Posted by regan222 in Computer and Technology, DIY, hovercraft, Science and Technology.
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I became interesting in building a remote control vehicle when I purchased a remote control robot as an example tool for my high school robotics class.  (I teach Robotics and Automation among other things.)  I have a Netduino board available to use a control feature but I decided this time to salvage a few radio control toys to get the servos and receivers and remotes already built.  Radio Shack had a clearance on remote control cars and so I spent $20 and got four of them.

Step I: Design and Planning:  This is NOT my favorite phase.  I looked around the Internet for ideas to steal…er I mean…inspire me and came up with the following:
a.  The chassis should be constructed of Styrofoam.  It is relatively easy to work with (yeah right) and light-weight so it should not require a huge amount of power to achieve lift.  The chassis should be basically vehicle shaped.  I am not saying exactly WHAT vehicle it is shaped like but hey…its the first thing I ever sculpted so give me a break.  I glued 4 large pieces of Styrofoam (about 18″ x 24″) into a block and then used a combination of hot wire and serrated knife to sculpt the general shape.  I used an ordinary power sander to smooth things up a bit.  It could look better I know but I suspect this will work.

b. The lift motor should be a 5″ computer fan that I had laying around.  It is 6 volts and 380 mA and runs at about 2000 rpm.  I think it will provide enough lift to get the vehicle up and floating.

c. The skirt will be made of green garbage bags cut and hot glued into a relatively air holding skirt.  I have not begun this phase of construction yet and so it is open to debate.  (Anyone have any suggestions?)

d. The directional control will be provided by one or possibly two 7v DC hobby motors mounted on the steering servos of my salvaged remote control cars.  The DC motors provide the push and the servos listen to the remote and rotate the motors to provide steering.  The motors are not heavy and neither are the servos.  I should have plenty of power in the lift fan to support the chassis, motors, servos, receivers, skirt, and assorted wiring.  If not I can always find a bigger fan or motor to lift with.

Today I shaped the chassis and carved a place for the motor.  Pictures below are of what I have so far.  Please feel free to comment constructively (Telling me what a terrible sculptor I am is NOT constructive) and offer suggestions.

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