Showing posts from December, 2010

Where did the idea come from?

The insperation for the Junkbots project came from reading the seminal book Junkbots, Bugbots, and Bots on Wheels  by Dave Hrynkiw and Mark W Tilden. In this book they discussed turning electrical 'junk' into some very interesting robots - and sneaking in some very interesting engineering challenges and principles.

A sample chapter can be found here looking at producing a solar powered motored 'bug'. 

The robots built within the JunkBots project are simpler but the principles are the same. If you are interested in this area this book is a must read.

How to build junkbots: Old toys

In a previous blog entry the idea of using drinks can and an unbalanced motor was discussed. but what else have the projects participants tried?

Some groups tried using old toys as the basis of their junkbots.


How to build junkbots: Drinks can, unbalanced motor

The junkbots project has now being running for 18 months in Northamptonshire, UK. But how have the junkbots being built? A video produced by one of the particpants can be found here, showing some of the examples.

Several ways have been investigated by the participants in the next few blogs some of these will be talked about.

Let's start with the main approach, simplest way and probably the quickest:- A drink can and an unbalanced motor - shaking its way around.

Take a 330ml drinks can and put it on its side. Fix an electric motor over one end of the can, packing tape is good for this (but not very environmentally friendly). Attach something to the motor's spindle that unbalances the motor, the goal is to get it vibrating. Broken propellers, cogs with Blu-tak, cogs with modelling clay have all being tried.

The problem with this, is turn the motor on and the junkbots rolls over onto it side and goes around in circles. A couple of fixes students have tried, adding outriggers at t…

Junkbots gets younger.

The Junkbots project, has up to this point, being focussed on students between the ages 11-14 years old. Recent developments in the project have lead to some of the material being delivered to younger children.

During September 2010  the robot programming side of the project was both developed further and delivered by the two new facilitators Kumuditha Kariyawasam and Aleksandra Dziubek.(see picture), two final year Computing students from the School of science and Technology, University of Northampton, UK. Their material was developed to make this side of project more accessible to a younger group, but also to appeal to girls a little more. An example of the material can be found by clicking on the link here.

Along side this in November, the part of project building robots out of 'junk' was used with a group of Beaver Scouts (5-8 years old) in a Northamptonshire village. One of the Beaver's said he wants to build a "junkbot factory".

The success and the lessons l…