Progress Update

He’s not naked. He just needs a respray.

The chaps at PiWars HQ want an update… So, here it is in a blog post.

PJD Mk1 has been built with some temporary electronics (which allow it to be driven by RC). We’ve been driving it around; and basically it works fine. Even the slightly risky 3D printed crown gears seem to be holding up.

But all is not well. It’s too slow. Which should have been obvious since the track units include a 4:1 reduction ratio.

Therefore Mk2 is on the drawing board / CAD system. It will use four independent motors (thereby allowing the use of mecanum wheels), with a direct drive onto the tracks, so it will drive at the same speed as P21. This will be fast enough.

There is one further problem: some of the components we planned to use for the electronics have a five month lead! Team PiDrogen is a victim of the global chip shortage. :0( Looks like we will have to come up with a different design.

Now, where’s the tin of red paint?

Apple Picker MkII


The apple picker I blogged about a couple of days ago is nice and it works. But I’m not going to use it.

MkII is better because it has no moving parts; the robot will just drive up to the tree and the top prongy-thingy will knock the apple off the tree and into the chute. At least that is the plan.

MkI was a case of reaching for the the CAD package before actually engaging brain.

PiWars 2022 at Home; We’re In!

Hmm, possibly a bit behind the curve for this post but…  We’ve been accepted into PiWars 2022 at Home!  Wahoo, here we go again! :0)

And here’s the robot we plan to build for the competition:

For context, the theme of this year’s competition is “Old McDoofus had a farm” (Doofus is the name of the little red robot logo for the competition).

We call our new robot, “PiDrojon Deer” (or “PJD”) and you can find out more here.

Here’s a synopsis of the conversation that took place at PiDrogen HQ that lead to the design…

Dad: “Let’s enter PiWars, entries are open!  We could use last year’s robot to keep things simple.”

Eldest son: “Well, we could… But… A tracked robot would be way better than last year’s robot. And last year’s robot isn’t cool enough. We need a new robot. It should have tracks and look cool. Cooler than last year’s anyway. Tracks would be better over obstacles, wouldn’t they?…”

So, this year, eldest son will have it his way. Our new design has tracks, is hopefully cool enough for his nibs, and is bang on theme!

To be honest, I think this design is risky.  To do well this year we are going to need a robot that can whizz about the arena autonomously and accurately.  I have the feeling that a tracked machine will neither whizz, nor be accurate with its movements.  Furthermore, a tracked machine will not offer a smooth ride; I’m expecting a blurred video feed. So, the pressure will be on to upgrade the control system!  (But in case that doesn’t work, this design has a trick up its sleeve. But that’ll be the subject of another post).

Take a look at PJD’s page if you want to find out more.