Thursday, March 15

Have You Seen This Man ?

originally uploaded by sprocket2cog.
Been looking for me ? well when blogger when out of beta a hicup meant i lost my password and cant get in, so by using flickr to backdoor the site im letting you know sprocket2cog has moved to
and the latest project is at
so welcome back to the long time viewers and hello , welcome to my nightmare for the newb's.
remember this site is no longer posted to, its just the older stuff, check the new url for more weird stuff.

Sunday, April 16


Well the Trike has been upgraded so I thought an update to keep you thinking what im going to do next was in order. Ive added a new upper deck and placed a hacked mother board from the lego rcx brick into it . The user buttons have been hacked into with real buttons mounted in the board to turn on the rcx and increment the program slot. The run button and view buttons will be jacked into the viper to allow control of the lcd screen and program runtime to save power. The RCX will also talk to the viper to allow analouge to digital conversion and multiplexing digital to analouge switches etc to allow a single wire control from the rcx with up to 16 buttons attached. The bulldog trike has a comman earth and this will allow easier use of sensors etc by limiting wiring later on. A new double wheel went on the back to help keep it stable and theres still heaps of wiring to go yet.... More in a few days..

Thursday, April 13


Ive been working on a new test platform for a small robot that uses minimal parts instead of a com[plex chassis to speed assembly and repair or replacement of damageed componets.
The resault for the first prototype is a trike design with a single servo driving the back wheel and the motors that came with the viper kit from microbric driving the robot.
Power is from a seven cell NiMH pack running a rectifier diode as protection against reverse power hook up.
The sensor pack is just some leds, a piezo speaker and a bump sensor at the moment but plans to add wall sensing via infrared or ultrasonics are afoot.
The viper bolts to the plexiglass via two brass risers and the servo screws to the plexiglass, all the parts are part of a stressed chassis and the viper makes up the lower beck and the top deck curenttly holds the battery and servo.

Monday, April 10


OK heres some links and news from around thw web about the sites and features we have spread out everywhere. MICROBRIC fans head over to the latest facts and tips at the viper site, now has a new faq on issuse with the viper as we find them, goto HERE Lego is very quiet at the moment with the testers testing away, pity they didnt have the foresight to let out more info now the testinf has started, we want to know more !!!! The raptor is on hold as a project, im going to use the brain later and the parts are bieng used in new projects. The v2 is sitting resting while i hack and prod the viper. But for all you fans heap over to All right, now for the media philes. video robot group HERE and photos HERE and the frap robot battle robot map named the worldwide battle raptors, is located HERE
wallpaper image for your download....

Thursday, April 6


note* the image is a older prototype used during the design and promotion of the original idea,
it shows an early sumo robot that is reflected in the new kit on sale.

some archive material to enjoy

Ok normally I like to go on about things a bit but I dont like to write about the same thing in two posts like this but if your in oz and can get to a store or want to order from online then nows a good time.
viper kits are going on limited price drops with the main kit selling for about $150 and the sumo and wheel pack selling for $52.49 & $59.99 each. so get them while its good picking.
I have got a sumo pack away for me to pick up soon, so ill have the sumo parts to do for the povray files .
thats the next big thing to do.
go here for the online details of the specials at dse..


Well The MICROBRIC company is taking leaps and bounds with its range of robot experimentaion products and the latest news is going to really bring a smile to our faces. The wise men (and women ?) at the South Australian based company have opened up their online shop with a whole new range of repackaged products aimed squarely at overseas buyers. The box sets contain the same parts as the shelf release items but the box is half size to reduce postage and handling and combined post on several add packs purchased at the same time keeps the price down. Check it out if your not near a dick smith store and you end up only spending about the same amount as in store due to cheaper costs on the stuff itself, all good from where im sitting :)
On another note, a while ago i sent an idea for a 90 degree adaptor to Josh at microbrics support center after some talk in email and the forums. Well after some feedback heres where they are up to at the moment with it.
Cool, this little mod will allow vertical motor placement, repostioning of line trackers to work as obstical advoidance sensors and even three dimensional models for more advanced constructions. only time will tell how these little gems will surface, in packs or kits or as part of a promotion ? What else does the fledgeling company have hiding ? the skorpion next, or a new sensor pack, maybe even an led screen...the possiablites are endless, and they want to know about it too, so give them a vist and fill in the form on the main page to let them know what you all want. quick call for the robot medics the venom is spreading and its not all bad :)

Wednesday, April 5



A while ago Lem From robots dreams put me on to youtube for video hosting online, the site is first rate and allows videos to be added to your websites as a flash interface. nice :)
Well when i did a search for a group involving robots there wasnt one so i started one up.
So if you have a video about robots then get it in the group to increase your views.
heres one of our members exclusive look into the guts of the scooba.

Theirs heaps more footage, with packbots and disney robots as well as pranks and bipeds...check them out today....

Tuesday, April 4



well just an update on whats going on The latest from the labs and news from the backrooms where robots cry for help...
Well ive upgraded images for the micro brick site with povray images i created for the intent of building plans like the manual for the viper to keep the look uniform. ill clean up the code for the pov file soon and release it for others to use, but for now its best to load one of my wallpapers from the site to your pc to drool over the models you can make in VR ( virtual realty for those too new to remember) with parts you dont own...i need to get the extra servo pack to build that so its on the list as well.
I have some more micro bric stuff soon including programs and the next project is going to be power supplies, i need a longer run for testing...
Im rebuilding the main s2c site as a portal as well to locate and navigate my content better as well, its a bit spread out on the net but you go where the people are....
the trike project was started and a review of what that intails is coming to s2c soon as well.
More soon


Well I know i want to get in to robot wrecking but i really didnt mean for it to be like this ....
Well the story so far down in the lab carpark is thus.
Take one beat up mobility scooter, one pile of aluminium and some 24 volt motors and build a outdoor robot with a bit of real world grunt...soultion ? robo trike.
After replacing the whole backend with a lighter alloy section and using a 10amp 24 volt worm drive motor instead of the bulky 24 v 15 amp with added electromechanical brake motor that came with it the length was shortened as well and all the extra handle bars etc removed as well as the seat.
a New 12 volt motor for sterring control from a car wiper assembly was fitted and after finally getting the angles for the sterring linkages sorted I decided to give it a little chassis test by giving the motors a quick boot to see if the thing would be too fast or slow and its easier to redo the ratios now with out the shell on.
Any way, next step went all wrong.
first i touched
the terminals to the batteries to start the motor only meaning to give it a little tickle with the volts, but the terminal soldered itself to the battery post due to the high start up current draw , i couldnt get the terminal off quickly and the motor was too strong for the mounting plate and bent it about 20 degress or so down from the torque as the robot went to go. it must weigh around 35-45 kilograms now with out the batteries on board...nice robot..
REAL ROBOTS EAT MEAT ! projects this big can take off fingers or worse, take care, more then i did....hey myth busters stye alright...!
so dont start your robot with out a decent control system and pulsed power, or a lower voltage etc to try it, an d make sure the motor mount is at least three times stronger then you think you need... happy hacking.

Wednesday, March 15


So you think you have seen every lego robot out there? Well ibet you havent seen this one that often.. Well techniclly it isnt made of lego, but when legoland in Denmark needed a new attraction to keep the little minifigs happy, well they turned to German robot manufactuer KUKA to help rhem out.
Lego wanted user interaction so a control panel with a choice of moves lets the user choose a unique ride on the 3 ton plus six degree of freedom giant robot arm, then climb on and get thrown around by one really big bad arm..
With speeds approaching 4m a sec and the ability to change direction at the flick pf its wrist, this ride is one fun fixture. The company has also made a robot arm flight sim that takes you on a tour of mars. KUKA has been making robots for factorys including customers like BMW and VW for years and is one of the leaders in its field.

Tuesday, March 14


The dallas personal robotics group had a chance to evalulate the viper and play with it a bit, the review is over at So if your looking for some news on the viper this will help out a little untill we know whats coming. I wonder what the plans for the future are ? what modules would you like to see ? Head to the microbric site and let them know om the form on the main page.

The image is a robot that Martin Meier created during his review.

Friday, March 10


I did a search over at you tube a few months ago to see if there was a robot group to add my videos to. but there wasnt one, so easy fix was to make one up and get it out there , So if you have any videos of your robots or robot hacks or even you with your robots talking about them..
Get on over to our group
Great service and yoou can add the videos to your web sites easily, Thanks to Lem for his invaluble insight in to the web,, he steered me in the direction i need for the videos.
Google video is slow to load your videos to puplic galleries , you tube is a lot quicker, normally with in minutes.


So your going to build a robot, its gunna have cameras and arms and tank tracks gps a mobile phone and anything else you can get your hands on...well how are you going to control it all ? STAMP chips or LEGO, maybe a microbric brain or two, what aout hacking the vision from the v2 ? well how about a computer ? Yeah a real pentium motherboard and a real OS and real userbility and reprogramabilty. Think its beyond the average hobbiest just yet ? well think again. One of the sites i vist is dedicated to reporting about the use and development of mini itx moter boards. These boards are full systems on a stick !! with onboard usb audio video serial ports and some even have standard S video ports as well. So what is so cool about theese multifunction boards ? been around a while I know... But its their size.. Getting down to around 8 inchs square and less then 10cm high these little boards are powerfull and fast but the trade off is bigger heatsinks and limited upgradeing for the average user. But the trade off is that you can build robots with full on board processors that can handle any thing you throw at your pc, from wifi to bluetooth and cameras and keyboards... Build a indoor or outdoor robot because with a little messing around to build your own plug adaptor, you can run these things on 12 volt supplies ( most computers can). The site even reviews a dc to dc converter for changing your batteries power from 12 volts to 5 and 3.3 as well. all this for the cost of a decent gaming PC. Add a wireless keyboard and mouse, a interface to the robot, even an rcx would work for basic control of motors and sensors. and viola, one programable robot chassis..

The Azimut 2 is powered by two 24V NiMH battery packs and an external power tether, with an elastic actuator, vertical suspension system and high efficiency brushless motor and gearbox driving each wheel

These photos are representative of content seen at

and are only used to illuisrate product range and usage, all rights reserved orginal owner.

Thursday, March 9


So, the photos are up at flicka and the RAT (rubbish and trash) robot is working but needs some new wheels and sensors now. The design (tripod holomonic ) works well and is stronger then First thought, cardboard tubing with fibreglass supports and plastic tape wrapping strengthing it. Hot glue is used to hold it all together with tape added as protective covering on the carboard.
The cds are gluded to the core and legs and the motors are supported by fibreglass rods and hot glue. Control is rcx and power is 9 volt motors in the feet. New wheels are being made and ill do a video at toutube when they are done. The cover is made from a car window sun shade to give it a lunar lander module look.
Ill be improving this one over time and hope to make it a full line tracker and soccer style robot with sensors to suit and some decent programming.
Ive called it 2D monic from Direct Drive holoMonic robot chassis as the motors are mounted in the feet of the robot this could work with direct drive motors instead of lego motors if brushless high torque motors are used , but an ultra fast controll system with heading sensors an compass if not a gyro or two would be needed for any real control at increased speeds, this one can go around 30-40 cm a sec at full speed on a flat surface, but the dynamics of the design mean repeated directional changes are needed as the robot tends to degrade in to a static point spin and linear motion paths cease untill a new slingshot is set off by changing one or wheel directions.

Tuesday, March 7



We all have seen th paper robots around, you know the little cut out fold together transformers and such ? well I decided to take paper craft to my level, Years ago I used to make up space ships out of pape and card and then went on to sterene foams and plastics and today I went back to paper and glue.. Hot glue that is...
Using some cardboard tubes from some paper towels
and two PC mag CD's from the 90's

I glued and taped this little chassis together,
more programming and then the wheels,
Im making omni wheels from scratch for this one ,using parts from a craft store.
Control is by rcx and power is direct drive 9 volt geared lego motors. This should be fairly fast and a little hard to control but its a good step if you want to control a hovercraft later down the track...hmm hovercrafts...
Anyway im penning designs for a holomonic hovercraft using ducting systems and control vanes similar in design to VTOL aitcraft and Two stroke motorcycle engine designs... money money money...gee im going to need to find a better job. holomonics to you home bot. , till next time. sprocket.

Sunday, March 5


NO STEPHANIE, NO DISASSEMBLE... Well ive just documented the inside of the viper motor units for you all to see. details at viper resources, link in the side bar is always there if you loose this article....


Genetic robot design is nothing new, its been around for years, the idea that fixed and variable length beams and springs, ( read bones and muscles) can be used for motion is the basis of most animals that employ walking. Sodaplay has released a program robot engineers and hobbiests will really enjoy, Best of all its free easy to learn and as it is java, dosent need to be installed. Featuring remote server storage of your models so you can share them this program beats others i have seen. from ameoba to bugs and walkers, give it a go , and when you are good at it, check out the mainpage for details on soda race, with human versus AI contenders this event is a virtual race with contenders designed by man and machine, upload races boast on the forums or get your robots assets kicked if your not up to the challange.
The image at hte top is one i made, its a triangle center leg lifting walker. not new but fun to make, this was my first attempt at a walking model that worked...