Robot Army : CES Week

This week was exhausting. It involved a lot of walking, chatting, setting up, tearing down, and practicing the good ‘ol elevator pitch. Myself, Mark, and his friend Gregg took off to make the most of CES- exploring for two long days on the showroom floor, and then attending events in the evening. It was a lot of fun and we made some new promising contacts (woo!).

Last night we did our first demo with the six working delta robots we have at Pololu Robotics. They held a nice shindig for those attending the convention who were involved with robotics and hackable electronics. It went over well and our kids did a fantastic job, seeing as it was their first recital. >.< Now to double our numbers… Mommy and Daddy must get busy.

Finally, with a moment to relax, Mark and I went over our BOM and caught up on emails this morning over bloody marries. We also started shooting our Kickstarter video now that I have my voice back! We plan to film discreet segments tomorrow around town, so hopefully by next week we’ll have enough content to edit into something awesome.

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Robot Army : Cuddling my Spreadsheet

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Today, I find myself wanting desperately to feel as though I’m doing something right. I think it’s likely all the rain we’ve had that’s tainting my mood, but I’m discouraged. I’ve been adding things to my bill of materials and the proportions are seeming less than hopeful in some areas.

Now I need to start shaving cost off things that are needlessly spendy. I guess this is where I learn to be inventive and shrewd all at once.

It might just be my lack of experience in doing PR related stuff- but I’m stuck again with the getting the word out part. Maybe I’m not begging loudly enough. I’ve never been all that good at asking for attention. So this is another hurdle to overcome.

This morning I did mock ups of several different variations Mark came up with for my delta’s arms. We foresee the cups that hold onto the ball bearings wearing out over time, so we’re trying to come up with a solution. One idea was to have a slit down the center of the U-joint that some hardware would compress together so that the tension on the ball could be adjustable :

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The other thing Mark suggested was that I ditch the cup entirely. He said ┬áit would be too difficult to mill if I decided to have my pieces machined. His idea to replace it was a simple square peg that had a “+” sign cut into it… leaving four small notches that would then grip the ball joint. I gave that a try too.

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The compression design worked well. It’s a good idea, but if I go with this type of arm, I’ll have to add another 12 pieces of hardware, plus 12 washers and nuts per kit…

The replacement for the cup worked in theory- but the ball was apt to pop out left, right or any of the directions it didn’t have material forcing it in place. So maybe not such a good idea after all.

Other than that… I’m attending a hardware startup meetup tonight with Jeff and Mark. We should all learn something from it. Tomorrow is Friday and I’m back over at Mark’s to finish and send off Rev 2 of the delta brain to be fabbed at OSH Park. Small steps. Chin high.