It’s been four months since my last post. At that time I lauded a lull in my day job that was allowing me to spend more time on projects. That was a lie. About four hours after a wrote that I was completely inundated with work. But that was then. Since that time I’ve managed to shoehorn in some costuming, a much needed vacation to DragonCon, and some time to work on another robotics project, BARB.

UPDATE: BARB has transitioned into a task specific robot which I am going back and forth on the name; PhotoBot or Botarazzi (Razz). Conceptually BARB is solid and will likely be revived at a later date. However, right now, I’ve scavenged the parts into other projects.

BARB is my Big Autonomous Robot Base, a 24″ round robotics platform which will be the foundation for several projects including PhotoBot and at least one Dallek.

Last night was the monthly meeting of The Robot Group at Techshop in Round Rock. The group meets weekly, but once a month it’s at Techshop. I was hoping to have the code done to run BARB using the XBox cotnroller but my code wasn’t done and I suffered a few setbacks when I got there. First, walking in the door, I had BARB, my bag of bot stuff, and my drink sitting on top. When I hit the threshold the drink tipped and fell into the bot bag. Fortunately the bag is plastic and all the boxes in it are sealed, or at least lidded. Point being, I spent the first 20-30 minuites there cleaning up this mess. On top of that, the nuts holding the casters on BARB rattled loose and they both popped off spilling the washers I use as spacers and levellers all over the floor. So, once the root beer was all cleaned up, I had to put the casters back on. I took a moment to go next door to Lowes to get some lock washers to prevent this in the future.

It turns out having the Lowes attached to Techshop is highly convenient (almost like someone planned it that way or something). I ended up making a couple trips over there for parts I needed to get BARB working including a box of ring studs for attaching the batteries and motors to the motor controllers. Luke was kind enough to let me use the radio controller for his large bot (AT, I believe). We got this hooked up and BARB was mobile.

Now I am working on the code for the XBox controller. I had been working in C++, but I’m going to switch over to C# as it has a number of libraries to make communicating with the controller and the arduino much easier. Soon BARB will be controlled by the laptop I’ve dedicated to this purpose and will be that much closer to being able to do all the fun things I want to do with it.