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View Full Version : [Discussion] Anyone ever consider Hydrogen, or Steam?



Electricity
07-09-2008, 11:31 AM
I think either one of this sources has the potential to be pretty cool. Unique if nothing else. For hydrogen you could either use a hydrogen cell, and a reactor, OR you could implement your own hydrogen extractor (wrong word?) and have a robot that ran on water. Now that would be cool! especially if it was some form of aquatic bot. :)

Steam on the other hand would also be relatively easy to do. I bet you could even make little steam powered servos. Although I'd love to see a pneumatic steam robot build all out of brass and wood ah la steam punk. Infact, if and when I ever build me a bipod, I'd love to atleast make a brass tubbing super structure..

Forgive me if I am mistaken, but electrolysis is a relatively simple process involving nothing more then a battery, some graphite electrodes, and some salt water. I just checked instructables, and heres' what they had
http://www.instructables.com/id/Separate-Hydrogen-and-Oxygen-from-Water-Through-El/
Seems pretty simple, I really like their design for the actual system.
The next step would be to figure out how to harness the hydrogen.
Ideas?

DresnerRobotics
07-09-2008, 11:44 AM
We have a total newb on these forums that goes by the name of Crabfu who has a few ideas about Steam powered robots... http://www.crabfu.com/steamtoys/

Total novice though, guy doesn't know ANYTHING about steam powered bots.

Adrenalynn
07-09-2008, 11:47 AM
Darn it, you beat me to it. Stupid phone-call... Darned work interfering with my posting and stuff. :)

I've seen his steam-powered R2D2 in person - it's incredible!

darkback2
07-09-2008, 12:14 PM
A hydrogen powered robot? I've found that the hobby hydrogen cells simply do not provide a good enough weight to power ratio, and don't work well in the presence of younger people...they don't seam to get that running it on tap water...just this once...and just a little bit...will screw it up pretty permanently. Now if you wanted to go huge on the other hand...you could get a hydrogen power ell from a hydrogen powered car...then get some really beefy DC motors.

I see an expensive idea coming.

DB

Adrenalynn
07-09-2008, 12:23 PM
There are hydrogen fuel cells out there that are small with good density, but they're pretty expensive. A company very near my office is looking at getting into robotics with their fuel cells (Jadoo Power) - I've been meaning to drop by and see what they have these days.

milw
07-09-2008, 01:05 PM
I have some live steam garden RR locomotives and had started building a dual-piston oscillating engine. I was also toying with steam idea for the Mech (pistons run on ~35 psi steam for actuators). My locos run on a small butane tank for ~15-20 minutes, but I think you'd have to calculate a boiler volume based on how many actuators and what volume of steam is needed to drive them. Crabfu, yeah i wonder what kind of run times his constructions have, and how far of a distance they can traverse in that time?

Electricity
07-09-2008, 03:22 PM
We have a total newb on these forums that goes by the name of Crabfu who has a few ideas about Steam powered robots... http://www.crabfu.com/steamtoys/

Total novice though, guy doesn't know ANYTHING about steam powered bots.
Holy crap holy crap holy crap holy crap!

Man, now I really really want a mill and lathe and such..
:(
Damn my lack of money, or storage space.

ScuD
07-09-2008, 03:25 PM
Here's one more that is absolutely flabberghasted by crabfu's work. It's more art than anything else, imho...

The one thing that bugs me about steam/hydrogen/co2/compressed air/[insert gas here] though, is the valves. There are quite simple designs out there, but it still gives me the shivers when i think about how many valves you'd need to build to get even a simple hex to walk.

That,plus the fact that gasses can be compressed, would make for quite a hard task to make movements like, say, a servo.

So remove the gas, and use a liquid, say some sort of light oil. Hardly no compression, big increase in strength, but leaks are a disaster..

I'd say it's more a practical problem, but the advantages would be huge, BigDog is the perfect evidence of this.

Be that as it may, i still wanna build a mech I can go shopping with though :veryhappy:

Electricity
07-09-2008, 03:57 PM
I don't know nearly as much about hydrolics as I do pneumatics. How would one regulate how much liquid was transfered? Some kind of pump I guess. Google here I come!

ScuD
07-09-2008, 04:02 PM
Oh don't get me wrong, I don't know the least of either pneumatics and/or hydraulics...
I tend to look at the physics and try to come up with how part x would handle part Y while pressure Z is upon them...

Things like that..


I need a vacation :sad:

Electricity
07-09-2008, 04:03 PM
Ok, so I did some googleage, heres what I came up with.
http://www.lifetime-reliability.com/images/013_helical_rotor_pump.jpg
I wonder how hard something like this would be to make, if one had a mill and or lathe, and appropriate knowledge. On a very very small scale too. You'd need one per joint theoretically.
Heres another design.
http://www.engineersedge.com/pumps/images/screw_6.gif
An even more simple design. You'd still need a motor/servo per pump, at which point it becomes a bit redundent.
http://photobucket.com/albums/a127/fdocc/wells-f2.gif
http://www.modern-laboratory.com/imgs/laboratory-equipment-images/MINIATURE%20PUMPS%20HELP%20MAKE%20A%20SMALLER%20MA CHINE%20BETTER.jpg
Miniature liquid dosing pumps.. http://www.modern-laboratory.com/index.php?nid=145&ntitle=Miniature%20Pumps%20Help%20Make%20a%20Small er%20Machine,%20Better


I wonder if you could do some sort of electronic solenoid kind of thing..?

ScuD
07-09-2008, 04:08 PM
Uhm.. that actually seems quite easy to build on the lathe..

Where'd you get those images? maybe i could whip one of those up over the weekend and try it out?

Electricity
07-09-2008, 04:12 PM
I call testing rights:p

Just google screw pump, or screw type positive displacement pump.
They do look pretty easy. You'd just have to figure a way to drive them. I guess you could do some incredibly complex transmission system, and one motor thats constantly spinning?

ScuD
07-09-2008, 04:14 PM
Well if we could figure out some simple valves, we'd just need one motor with enough torque to get the thing rolling.

Electricity
07-09-2008, 05:14 PM
Ok, so check this
http://i38.tinypic.com/2d9z1ow.jpg
Pretty simple. Theres a motor that leads to one of them screw pumps, you'd have to regulate how often the motor spun, otherwise you're going to build up some kinda crazy back pressure and blow a line.
Anyway, the pump would lead to a bay of electronic valves that would regulate intake and exhaust. They you'd have to calculate how long the valve would stay open for the correct movement. The exhaust would lead back to some sort of flexible container that would drain back to the screw pump.
Pretty simple. You'd just have to do the programage, which i know nothing about. I'd imagine it'd be a bunch of trial and error.
I would also assume you'd want to use opposing muscles/rams on both sides of the joint, so that they only have to pull, not push.
Assuming you want dynamic foot movement, you're looking at 4 muscles in a foot, two at the knee, 4 at the hip, you'd probably need a servo for the waist, unless you made some sort of rotating joint, with two horizontal muscles partially wound around it, which would actually work, and be pretty cool.
ten valves per leg..

Electricity
07-09-2008, 05:14 PM
By the way my drawing is in no way proportionate in any way. Except the motor... :p

DresnerRobotics
07-09-2008, 05:38 PM
What design program are you using for that? Solidworks? Autodesk 09?

Electricity
07-09-2008, 05:39 PM
What design program are you using for that? Solidworks? Autodesk 09?
Its actually Manualdesk 85, I know its an older version, but I just started learning all the new fangled 'digital' design programs.. Not good enough to knock something out quite yet.

Adrenalynn
07-09-2008, 05:43 PM
SharpieCad'85?

Electricity
07-09-2008, 05:51 PM
Lol..
Seriously though, someone teach me a design program so I can at least pretend to build robots until I get me a kit and actually get to do something!
heres something else I whipped up.
What do you guys thing of the super knife idea?
http://i36.tinypic.com/2evgltt.jpg

Sienna
07-09-2008, 05:52 PM
Guys..... you REALLY need to look at how RC Truckers do hydraulics...

I would start in this forum:
http://www.gardentrucking.com/Yabb/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.pl?board=303
And consider joining this group:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rctrucksandconstructionequip/

Electricity
07-09-2008, 05:57 PM
hey cool Sienna, thanks for the idea. I've often preached about finding a hobby that does what your looking to do already if you're not familiar with a certain aspect of something.
i'll have to check into thems trucking forums.

DresnerRobotics
07-09-2008, 05:57 PM
Lol..
Seriously though, someone teach me a design program so I can at least pretend to build robots until I get me a kit and actually get to do something!
heres something else I whipped up.
What do you guys thing of the super knife idea?
http://i36.tinypic.com/2evgltt.jpg


You're missing a servo on your left leg, otherwise it's awesome.

Electricity
07-09-2008, 06:00 PM
You're missing a servo on your left leg, otherwise it's awesome.
lol. :p I wanted to see if anyone would notice.

Adrenalynn
07-09-2008, 06:00 PM
What do you guys thing of the super knife idea?

Is it gas-powered with a sharpened chain and make really obnoxious noises? 'Cause that'd be cool!

Electricity
07-09-2008, 06:40 PM
Is it gas-powered with a sharpened chain and make really obnoxious noises? 'Cause that'd be cool!
It does now.
http://i36.tinypic.com/347fv9k.jpg
(forgot to hit submit half an hour ago..)

Adrenalynn
07-09-2008, 06:46 PM
Your design is really starting to show promise now!

I know your cad package is a little limited [:p], but how about some Fricken LASERs shooting from his eyes? :robotsurprised: :mad:

DresnerRobotics
07-09-2008, 06:53 PM
Oh Adrenalynn, you're not even being discreet with your post farming at this point. 5 to go?

Adrenalynn
07-09-2008, 06:54 PM
I'm being completely discreet, until you guys bait me! It's all your fault! [4]

Electricity
07-09-2008, 07:00 PM
What? You farming too? I WILL BEAT YOU!

Adrenalynn
07-09-2008, 07:14 PM
Given A) my demise and B) inverse Plank Time - indubitably.

metaform3d
07-09-2008, 08:14 PM
Seriously, where did you go to school?

A) It's not "super knife", its Subtle Knife (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Subtle_Knife).

B) It's not "plank time", it's Planck Time (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_time).

and, finally

C) You guys are totally insane.

Adrenalynn
07-09-2008, 08:24 PM
B) It's not "plank time", it's Planck Time (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planck_time).


Doh! Right'chu're. :o

Electricity
07-09-2008, 08:41 PM
Gud Buk tho..

crabfu
07-21-2008, 09:37 PM
whoa, just discovered this part of the forum.... lol :)

Ok steam... don't do it. Ok do it... but expect a heck of a lot of headache. The main one being weight to power ratio. Steam can have quite a bit of torque, but it's heavy... just think of all the metal and water involved. I've never had a steam contraption that had enough power, they all feel just barely enough to carry themselves. Run times on the average are 10-15 mins, and I have ran gas (butane/propane mix), alcohol, and fuel tablets, and 1 to 4 cylinder engines. Mostly i just run it as hot as possible, and the engine uses up steam faster than the boiler can produce. Besides that, it is a mess, it will get oil and steam all over everything, and you can't just plug it in, turn it on, and go. It takes time to test.... waiting for water to boil seems to take longer than watching grass grow. Oh, and last thing, it can be potentially dangerous, but the chances of mishaps are pretty small if you are careful, I'd say not any more dangerous than mistreating lipo batteries :)

Anyway, steam alternative is not the smartest thing to do for this sort of thing, only an idiot would tackle that on.... but sure gets you some cool steampunk points, which DOES make up for the trouble and headache involved in the end. You just need to know what you are getting into... if you ever do decide that's your thing as well, I'd be happy to help.

-Crabfu

Electricity
07-22-2008, 12:31 PM
cool thanks for the pointers crab! When I get around to attempting something, it will definitely be for the steampunk points, not for total functionality. Stuff like that just fascinates me, when ty mentioned you, and I found your page, I was facinated! I'm also amazed at how expensive boilers and such are. I'm gonna have to try to make my own or something, Sammy's to poor for robotics.. :(

ScuD
07-22-2008, 02:23 PM
I came across one of those oldskool toys last weekend with a boiler.. didn't buy it though, it was in such bad shape that I think removing the oxidation from the brass would leave big-a$$ holes in the boiler..

Electricity
07-22-2008, 07:01 PM
Where'd you find it? If I went fleamarketing more often and yardsaleing I bet i could find some cool stuff.

ScuD
07-23-2008, 01:38 AM
Uhm, in Diest, Belgium :veryhappy:

I'm sure there ought to be a flea market or garage sale or something over there where you could find one of those.

Or maybe Ebay?

crabfu
07-24-2008, 01:07 AM
I was facinated! I'm also amazed at how expensive boilers and such are. I'm gonna have to try to make my own or something, Sammy's to poor for robotics.. :(

Yeah steam stuff ain't cheap, because of what is involved in making them, and how obscure the hobby is. I used to think they are over priced, but after visiting a super high end steam company shop, and seeing what it takes to make steam engines and boilers, I had a new respect and appreciation of them. Much of the parts are hand made, tons and tons of little parts, all hand assembled by a skilled person. Boilers especially takes amazing skill to make, and tested to many times the operating pressure to insure safety. If you see the inside of some of these boilers, you'd be amazed at the soldering/welding job. Believe it or not, these high end steam engines and boilers make VERY little profit... it's amazing that some of these companies are still in business.... most of them are gone.

Ebay is a good source for cheap engines and boilers. But be aware, boilers aren't really repairable if there are issues with them, not by most people anyway. Fittings can sometimes be replaced around the boiler to fix leaks, but as a general rule I don't mess around with boilers... it's just not worth the risk, no matter how low that risk may be. Higher end engines usually are fine, they may need a little tweaking and timing, but mostly they will be fine. So if you want to get into steam, a simple but brand new $100-150 steam plant would be my recommendation. Your first steam engine should run great, and not require tweaking as you probably won't be able to trouble shoot too well yet. My steam walker uses a wilesco boiler and engine combo that is priced in that range :) You get what you pay for... the higher ends are more suitable for complex control and has a lot more power.

-Crabfu

Enusi Malik
10-02-2008, 11:10 AM
You can make your own fuel cell, I've been looking at the different types for sometime now AFC's are decent, much cheaper than PEM fuel cell's and do not require the platinum catalyst, but the efficiency is a bit lower than the popular PEM fuel cell though, I guess it depends on the power requirments on what you are building, mmmmmm....... here is a pretty good website www.fuelcellstore.com.

SteamAutomaton
06-01-2010, 10:34 AM
Dear Community:

Gee, my first time looking for a question on LiPo's and I find this thread.:p

The one of the many things that many people are not realizing is condensation. Condensation occurs when the temperature drops below the boiling point. This causes all sorts of problems (vacuum, hydraulic lock, ect). That is the reason the Crabfu runs his engines hot to combat this.:)

Check out videos of full size steam locomotives as they start from a station. You should notice big clouds of steam when they start. The (I currently forgotten name) valves release the condensation until the engineer sees that there is no more (now that the cylinders are now warmed to temp), then they close the valves.

There are also other things also to consider, like boiler thermal expansion (a locomotive boiler can grow many inches from cold to hot) and steam expansion (a strong point for larger engines) to name a couple.


If I had the money, time, and shop, I would build Steam-Arms.:mad: The main chassis would be that of a 1/5 scale steam shovel with two redesigned metal Armatrons. The steam turbine would provide the electrical power for the micro-controller. Solenoids would be the electro-mechanical interface. Sensors would be all over the place. The boiler might be a carefully redesigned 5lb propane tank. Guesstimated weight: 250 lbs or 1/8 ton.:robotsurprised:

There would be three steam engines: the tracks; the turret; and the arms. The smallest engine would be a 2-cyl horizontal for the turret rotation (1DOF). The next size engine could be 2 or 3 cyl horizontal for the tracks (2DOF). The largest engine would be a 3-cyl vertical engine to move all 12DOFs of the two Armatrons.:D

Steam-Arms may be a retirement project, because it will take a LOT of old school engineering, time, money and talent to do. Currently, engineering, money, and talent is in short supply.:rolleyes:

My $0.02,
Steam Automaton

Robonaut
06-01-2010, 01:38 PM
I like the thought of Helium-3, it is very interesting stuff. It's a light, non-radioactive isotope of helium with two protons and one neutron. A small vial of the stuff could power a major city for a month. Too bad the only large deposits of it that we know of are on the moon. It's been collecting there for a very long time now. NASA is slated to start harvesting it upon our return to the moon.

If you care to read up about it you may want to start here. I'm sure you'll find this link has far too much information.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helium-3