Thursday, December 7, 2017


One third scale Astromech

R2Kee2 In Blue
This R2 unit was designed by my friend Damien Kee.

I used his building instructions to create my own version.

The head is built a bit different, and I'm not sure I like this one, yet.

I added a few internal supports, which Damien incorporated into his instructions.

This version is about 1/3 scale.  Coming up will be a photo shoot with him and his two bigger brothers, who are 1/2 scale and full size.

Here's the little brother with his middle brother.

Building instructions and code are posted on Damien's web site:

Additional information on Andrea's web site

Thursday, March 9, 2017

VEX IQ MS Worlds

Data for VEX IQ Worlds '17 - Middle School

This is live data for teams that are registered for VEX IQ Worlds '17.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Sample RobotC code for VEX IQ

Sample VEX IQ Code

I get a lot of questions about to to program VEX IQ using RobotC.
  1. How do we make the arm move to a specific location?
  2. Can we use the same program for Autonomous and Driver Command?
  3. We have a list of commands that execute when we press a button.  Sometimes the robot will get stuck, while executing the commands.  How do we make it stop?
Below are three code samples.  They are intentionally posted as images in order to allow you the joy of typing each character, and learning something in the process.

The first code shows how to make a motor move to a specific location, using RUp and RDown (lines 11-19).

It also shows how to call the same block of code using the remote control OR touch LED (lines 20-37)

This image simply shows the above program converted to text using RobotC's "Convert Graphic File to Text" command.

This code demonstrates the use of tasks, for running code that can be interrupted at any time.

Monday, December 12, 2016

16-17 VEX IQ Teams from Indiana

VEX IQ teams qualified for '16-'17 Indiana State Tournament

This list should stay updated.  30 Middle School teams and 96 Elementary teams will qualify for the state tournament in March of '17

Monday, September 19, 2016

R2-IQ: Rebuilding


Second Neck rebuild
R2 has been to a few shows, and there are several things that need tweaked.

Originally, the head-turning was driven by a single powered axle.  That put a huge amount of torque on the axle (and gears) and turned pretty slow.

I don't have a pic of the first rebuild, but it had one wheel driving the plate on the bottom of the head.
Third Neck rebuild
The second rebuild had four wheels driving the head.  Sort of.

I can't believe I screwed up the gearing like that.  The third rebuild works very well.

There will still be a wire coming out and attaching the brain to the LED sensor in the head, so the head can not spin 360, but it should turn very well.

Small opening
If anything happens to R2, like it gets knocked over, or I otherwise need to work on the inside, there is a very small hole in the body to reach through.

That makes maintenance very difficult.

Back panel w/Magnets
On Sunday (Build day 327) I decided to make a removeable panel for the back.  This will allow me to get inside and make adjustments as needed.

There are four sets of magnets that hold the back on.  Hopefully they will be strong enough to hold everything in place.
Back panel with hatch
There is a small hatch on the back, so I can turn it on and off.  I will have to take the back panel off to replace the battery.

Closed back
With the hatch closed, it looks clean.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Super Robo Rally V2

SRR Version 2:

Over the years, I've spent more time working on Super Robo Rally than any other project I've ever created.

SRR at Nexus Game Fair '16
In fact, I may have spent more time on it than all other projects, combined.  (maybe not.  I've had many projects)

After starting on it in 2010, it's been through more revisions than I can list.

The current system uses a Windows 7 PC running C# code to control the game, and communicate with the robots.

Over the summer, I will be working on Version 2.  This version will move from the C# engine currently used, to a MySQL database on a Raspberry Pi, where the Pi can also communicate with the robots via Bluetooth.

The best part about this, will be getting around the current weakness of Windows, where a PC can only communicate with 7 devices.  The Pi will be able to use multiple bluetooth dongles to communicate with robots.

I can't explain how much better this will make the whole system.  I'll try to follow up as this progresses.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

R2-IQ: Printed Parts

R2-IQ: 3D Printed Parts

Complete Artoo Head
I just received 16 printed parts for R2-IQ.  The process for getting them was a long story...

I designed a couple pieces in SnapCAD (CAD software for VEX IQ) and posted them on the web, asking if anyone could create an stl file.  Within a day, I had a couple offers, and one very good file from David Knerr.

After we made a few tweaks of two parts, Davin printed the parts in one of Purdue Polytechnic's labs.
Assembly of Head
The two parts consist of a triangle-shaped piece (4x) and a diamond-like polygon (12x) which together fill all the area in R2's head.

The design of these parts allowed me to remove much of the internal structure that was required to create the original shape.

Head on body

The most time consuming part of assembling the new head was putting 240 pins into the 3D printed pieces.

Once it was complete, the new head has a lot less panels inside, and is much more rigid than the previous one.

The head is mounted on four rollers, which previously only raised the middle enough to stabilize it.  Now, there is actually a small gap between the head  and the body.

The new design drives a couple small wheels that the head is sitting on.  It's much freer to turn, and slip when people try to turn it manually.
The drive for the head was originally a motor & worm gear that turn an axle connected to the head.  This put a great deal of torque on a couple small pieces, especially when people would walk up and try to turn the head by hand.