Monday, December 20, 2010

TOBL: Back in Business

I'm back in Massachusetts finally! To my great surprise I arrived at Logan Airport with all my luggage. Part of me was anticipating a little note from the TSA to the effect of: "Err sorry...we had to blow up your bag." Not the case though, my suitcase, featuring a square foot of aluminum, batteries, and lot's of suspect wires made it on and off the plane. So did a loaded gun though, so maybe next time I'll get more creative. Anyways, the University of Maryland was kind enough to grace us with a ~five week winter recess. It's time to exploit that and get back into this project.

Cutting out the wheel plates on the mill.

The finished pieces.

Not a perfect job on the band saw, but I took my sweet time on the mill so hopefully all the critical dimensions are in tact, which are the three outermost holes that align the gears. I'll be going into the shop as often as possible to machine the plates for the servos, the board mounts, and the rods which string all the plates together. The gears, wheels, and other little mechanical pieces are on order too.

Now, the board, or XPWMShield as it has been dubbed ("XPeeWMShield" would have been cool but I'm not that immature). It's finally done and time to send it out to Advanced Circuits! I'm pretty excited...and a little anxious since this will be my first custom board. It should be a good wireless platform for future projects. As you can tell I very much value compact-ness. This project would have been a whole mess easier to do at a bigger scale, but I like the idea of keeping things small. Final dimensions are 1.8"x3.2", which is is pretty close to the target 2"x3". I can deal with the extra length, more importantly its narrow enough to stay out of harms way when rolling.

Click to enlarge.

Fortunately I discovered that the old (HS-81) spline gears can replace those of the HS-82MG, so that means no custom gear-making. I ordered a few sets of that gearset to finish off the servos and that's all for now. I'll do my best to keep this pace through the holidays...that new soldering iron would help, Santa ;)

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