Featherweight Schnauzer Part 17

As I already have hinted in the last blog article there have been some major improvements for Schnauzer but due to time issues no blog article has been published (yet). The complete electronics are now inside of Schnauzer consisting of the receiver (in the orange case on the left middle side of the robot), the two Botbitz 85 electronic speed controllers (mounted vertically  in the front of the robot between the two wheels), the gold plated current distributor blocks (located left and right of the ESC's), the 80 A fuse (on the bottom end of the robot) and the connectors for the Removable Link as well as the power LED (on the right side of the robot between front and back wheel).

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However, there was still one mission critical piece missing: The complete armour. So far I had only manufactured two Hardox plates for the side armour of Schnauzer. Two weekends ago I gave myself a start and cutted out the final pieces (back- and front armour) from the original Hardox plate. Since I have no welding skills I asked my friend Michael if he could help me with the welding process. Thankfully he agreed and so we spent last Friday in his garage for a welding session which lasted 9 hours. The next picture shows the Hardox frame while we were in the process of welding together the front plate with the side plates.

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In between we always put the the base plate with the electronics inside the frame to see if the welding led the frame to go out of shape. As a result we could react early on and take active countermeasures before the frame became unusable.

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Here you can see Schnauzer with the finished frame:

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You might notice that the front plate design was altered once more. Instead of two spikes Schnauzer is now sporting three spikes and the front armour plate is fully made of Hardox. Only the pickup-part of Schnauzers front scoop consists of the old scoop from Schnauzer and therefore is only made of "normal" steel.

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I really do like this last shot of Schnauzer since you can see all three spikes neatly aligned within the picture. The intended purpose of those spikes is to keep the other robot firmly on its scoop and prevent it from driving on the top of Schauzer.

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Stay tuned for further updates 🙂 In the mean time, if you are craving for more combat robot news take a look at Battlebotsupdate - you can find real good content about the ongoing Battlebots season there - presented in a snarky tone which makes it a terrific read 🙂

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LXRobotics at the Maker Faire Bodensee 2016

Last weekend from June 25th to 26th, 2016 the first Maker Faire in Bodensee took place. Since I have never been to this particular area of Germany I immediately decided to go and exhibit the products of LXRobotics and the robots I've built. The basic booth preparation with the arrangement of the tables and covering them with linen was done on the evening of June 24th. In the early morning we finished the preparation of our booth and at 10:00 we were ready to receive our visitors (right on time 🙂 ).

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On the right side of the booth we placed our roll up display. Our products were showcased from the middle (where the CNC mill was located) to the right side of the table.

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The robots Spectre, Steroid, Schnauzer, Sergant Pain, Evolution, Argos and the Nyan Lunchbox were displayed on the left side of the table and attracted a lot of attention during the exhibition.

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The booth of Modding-Masters community was located in about the center of the hall. Their hobby is to modify existing pc cases and redesign following a self chosen motiv. Like the PC-in-a-spaceship in the next picture 🙂

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Liquid cooling systems could be found in nearly (or every) single modded system:

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A robot-styled modded case:

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Another space-ship:

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Alien vs. Predator(?):

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The turbines look quite similiar to the infamous SR-71 Blackbird.

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Every single modded case is a piece of art:

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Steampunk is common topic in nerd culture. The Chocolatist was exhibiting some of his (admittedly) very cool creations at the Maker Faire, such as the Underwood Pentium PC ...

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... or the steampunk'ed (is this even a word? 🙂 ) version of R2-D2:

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Students from local schools exhibited some of their projects such as this autonomous solar powered catamaran which is consisting of 3D printed parts ...

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... and this Hexacopter which is equipped with thermal imaging equipment.

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Found this little walker at the booth of Reichelt:

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At the same time with the Maker Faire a flea market took place in the two other halls. Since the Maker Faire was happening in the same time with the HAM Radio exhibition the content of the flea market was very amateur radio centered. They had tubes ...

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... and all sorts of capacitors ...

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... and all sorts of measurement instrumtents.

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A super computer based on Raspberry Pi was shown at the booth of qube solutions:

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The german army had also set up some radio equipment in the outdoor area - together with an carrer office.

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Last but not least: If you survived the picture spam so far it is time to collect your reward: Schnauzer has been wired up with electronics and is able to be driven around via remote control.

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A more detailed blogpost on the progress of Schnauzer should come soon. Stay tuned 🙂

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Setup AVR-GCC with Eclipse

With the Atmel Studio the Norway based semiconductor company provides a very powerful development tool for writing firmware for Atmel microcontrollers - for Windows. If you want to enjoy the benefits of an comfortable IDE on Linux you will need to setup the AVR-GCC compiler with Eclipse. Fortunately this is very easy - read here how to do it.

Download the latest AVR 8-Bit Toolchain from Atmel and move the downloaded archive to /opt where you unpack it:

Set the path so you can call the AVR-GCC from everywhere in the system:
You have to logout followed by a subsequent login to apply the changes to the environmental variable.To verify that the path has been entered correctly open a new shell and enter the following line:
The result should be a output very similiar to the next listing:
Next you have to start Eclipse and install the AVR-ECLIPSE plugin. To do so select the menu "Help - Install New Software". In the field "Work with" you must enter the following string:
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After the completion of the plugin installation you need to restart eclipse. Once restarted you can create a new project by selecting "New -> C(C++) Project". In the appearing menu you have to select "AVR Cross Target compilation" and "AVR-GCC Toolchain".

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As a last step you should set the CPU type for your project. By right clicking on the created project and selecting "Properties - AVR" you can select the CPU type as shown in the next picture.

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You have now setup the AVR-GCC with the comfortable Eclipse IDE and are ready to go. Build something great 🙂

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LXRobotics at the Maker Faire Vienna 2016

On 16th and 17th of April 2016 the first austrian Maker Faire took place at the "Atelierhaus der billdenden Künste" in Vienna. More than 240 makers and companies did present their work on three floors of the time-honored building to approximate 6000 visitors. The next picture sports an overview of the entry area. The LXRobotics booth is located at the left corner at the bottom of the image.

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The next picture shows the three floors on which exhibitions took place. Additionally there was a large room attached to the ground floor as well as food trucks plus a robotic band in the courtyard.

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The Maker Faire itself was more centered on the "do-it-yourself" theme and did have considerable less exhibitors with electronic gadgets than other Maker Faires. However, there were always people making inquiries about our robots and Arduino Shields.

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The next two pictures provide better insight into the layout of our booth. Since we forgot all our cameras at home I had to borrow those to pictures from the Maker Faire organisation team who also put together a great photo album. Also, there is a short video of the Maker Faire available.

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The left part of our booth was filled up with our large scale robots Queen, Steroid and Schnauzer. We also displayed Lunchbox and the Mini-Sumo Robots Sergeant Pain, Evolution and Argos.

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As mentioned before a robotic band was playing in the courtyard: The One Love Machine Band. It is a very interesting "artsy" installation which you should definitely pay a visit to see them live in action 🙂

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Apart from the big music playing robots there were many other creations such as the cute robot in the next picture ...

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... as well as a myriad of small projects developed by fellow Makers.

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And what would be a Maker Faire without 3D printers? (This question is purely rethorical 🙂 )

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Finally we want to thank all our visitors for the good conversations we had at our booth. Furthermore we would like the organisation team for the great organisation and also the delicious food supply at the saturday evening come-together.

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