Initial Group Project thread

Overlord's picture
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We discussed possible group project ideas during our last Mini-meet. So...... lets put our ideas online, and by our next Maker Saturday event we should have some real ideas to pick from.... Post away!

JonM's picture

by JonM on Mon, 08/22/2011 - 01:33

Short-term: some sort of low-key soldering / project kit for new members or people without projects on open make day. We could crank out a half-dozen boards and buy all the components, and then make them available.

Long-term: an awesome robot. Fire a bonus. I loved Gary's idea of everyone taking a basic control board and just doing whatever weird thing comes to mind.

gschoep's picture

by gschoep on Mon, 08/22/2011 - 22:18

Here is the promised block diagram from our meeting on Thursday. Note that this is more of a worksheet of the functions and interaction for what would be a fairly advanced autonomous robot.

We would need to plan and design each of these functions with hardware and software.

Hmmm... How do you add a pdf file....?????

Here are some links to computer boards/modules.
http://www.embeddedarm.com/products/board-detail.php?product=TS-7553
http://beagleboard.org/hardware
http://www.mini-box.com/pico-SAM9G45-X

Here are some little ARM modules in Ardunio form factor
http://www.coridiumcorp.com/ARMduino.php

Gary Schoep

Overlord's picture

by Overlord on Tue, 08/23/2011 - 14:55

Could one review the Maple ARM Board?
http://leaflabs.com/devices/maple/

I would really like to give it a try myself.

gschoep's picture

by gschoep on Thu, 08/25/2011 - 19:00

This is similar to the Coridium board that I listed. It is a ARM Cortex M3 which is a little more powerful. Sells for $44 and is supposedly code compatible with Ardunio.

Coridium makes a board like it at $49 with twice the memory also in Ardunio Form factor.
http://www.coridiumcorp.com/SuperPRO.php

The problem with these boards is that they are getting almost to be overkill on features with little improvement in functionality. Their best feature is flexibility in that they can be programmed for ONE small application.

These boards would be maxed out doing math for a GPS. They would be great if ALL they did was read a GPS and keep track of a location. But try to do more at the same time (like communicate the location over a zigbee network) and you would bump up against hardware limitations.

For these type applications I like this board/module:
http://www.coridiumcorp.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=29&osCs...

It is small and will fit on a breadboard or can be out on a custom board (or breadboard) easily.

Gary Schoep

Overlord's picture

by Overlord on Tue, 08/23/2011 - 15:01

Add a new blog entry or article first... Then you have the ability to add unlimited number of files (including PDF's)

I definitely like Jon's idea of planning out simple "beginners kits" that we can order bulk parts for. If we can source the parts at low enough cost we can make them available to potential members at a low cost, yet still be able to mark up the price as a form of fundraiser. Something like this would be handy for recruiting members, or for events and whatnot. We could then use any revenue from this, along with member donations or other fund-raising opportunities, to fund the building of more impressive and elaborate group projects, or fund the purchase of equipment to be shared amongst members.

as for group projects, I'm a big fan of the Autonomous Zepplin idea, maybe an autonomous quadrotor, or even just a super awesome robot that shoots fire.

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gschoep's picture

by gschoep on Thu, 08/25/2011 - 21:10

When the ECE rover was designed we got a $75K grant to cover the final design and cost of the initial kits. To make something cheap it either has to be cheap or you have to buy in large quantity. Making a complete kit is difficult especially when there are already lots of cheap low cost kits already.

This is kind of a cool design methodology
ER1 Robot kit at PC Mag

So we could build the "box" and people could connect it to what they want controlling the cost. There has to be enough for it to be a real robot, with a lot of room for flexibility. Refer to the block diagram on the Wiki.

Then we could produce kits that are not expensive AND that are useful.

Here is another great "design methodology". One that is open source too. MegaSquirt - DIY Fuel Injection Controller
Look at the bottom of the page for companies that sell assembled units or kits when the whole kit is only $140.

Gary Schoep

JonM's picture

by JonM on Wed, 08/24/2011 - 16:02

Did that block diagram PDF ever happen?

Overlord's picture

by Overlord on Wed, 08/24/2011 - 16:08

One can't add a PDF or any other upload to a comment using Drupal 7.x. One needs to either create a new blog entry, or better yet you can create a new Wiki page using http://wiki.bozemanmakers.com ;)

by wileydavis on Thu, 08/25/2011 - 21:11

I'd be very interested in building an autonomous sailboat (a small one) for long distance autonomous travel.

Might be fun to find a makerspace type thing overseas and near a coast, and see if we can sail a robot their way.

Seems challenging enough to be interesting and complex enough to contain a number of achievable sub-problems.

Any interest?

cmetcalf's picture

by cmetcalf on Fri, 08/26/2011 - 08:54

an autonomous sailboat is an interesting idea... that would involve a whole slew of skills to make the boat work. sewing, woodworking, physics, electronics....
I really like it! the only problem I see is finding a body of water to test it on. If you are thinking of something relatively small scale I could see this being feasibly tested in one of the local ponds.

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Overlord's picture

by Overlord on Fri, 08/26/2011 - 09:30

One could always use Canyon Ferry Lake.

by wileydavis on Sat, 08/27/2011 - 09:22

I was thinking small. Probably no larger than 4 ft in length. So canyon ferry would certainly work to test. Or Hyalite. Even the rec pond to start.

Just seemed like a challenging, multi-faceted long-term project.

Overlord's picture

by Overlord on Mon, 08/29/2011 - 09:20

If only Raspberry Pi was ready for use ;) http://www.raspberrypi.org/

This little board looks damn sweet.

cmetcalf's picture

by cmetcalf on Mon, 08/29/2011 - 12:23

that looks like a really nice simple board! thanks for the link, I may have to pick one of these bad-mama-jamma's up :)

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gschoep's picture

by gschoep on Wed, 08/31/2011 - 18:02

Yes it would.

I do doubt the $25 price tag. I think they have good intentions but just like the $100 OLPC it will cost more than they estimate.

Gary Schoep

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