View Full Version : [Project] Mech Warfare Turret

09-30-2010, 08:20 PM
Hey everyone,

Im starting a new thread here because I have a new project which is underway (slightly). I was thinking I wanted something to practice with/against for Mech Warfare when my Mech has been completed. I didn't want to do a whole extra robot, so I decided the way to go would be to make functioning turret which I can practice against. I have bought a lot of pieces of Trossen to start this project already, just waiting now for them to come in.

I ordered the PhantomX turret system since it is a great looking piece already and I wouldn't have to redesign the wheel for it. I already had the servos from the Bioloid kit (another reason why people should start out with the comprehensive kit, am building a full quadruped robot with 15 servos that came from the kit and now making a turret with 2 of those left over servos, and still have 1 more servo to play around with, or use as a back up to anything).

I also got the xbees to go with it so it can be wirelessly controlled via a computer, just the same as my Mech will be. I plan to aslo have a Trendnet IP cam for it. This way the turret will have to be controlled the same way the mechs have to, thus I can control my mech, and someone else would be able to control the turret. I already have roborealm, so I was thinking of implementing some color tracking as well.

So, overall I plan on having the phantomX turret, arbotix, xbee, 2 tank guns, and powered through a power brick, since it wont be mobile, I can just have it plugged into the wall.

I will keep this thread updated when I make progress on the turret. It might be a bit slower than my Quad Mech (http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showthread.php?t=4211) thread since I need to complete that Mech first. Hope everyone enjoys. by the end I will hopefully post some video of the mech and turret fighting it out, while the cat runs through the battlefield.


10-08-2010, 08:18 PM
I have not forgotten about my turret. I got it in the mail last week and put it together. I was just waiting for the new arbotix and xbee set up to get here as well. I now have a whole set up to get this sucker running. Here are just the assembly pictures for you. As you can see I had to switch out the short C bracket at the top, for the angled C bracket. I used up all of mine on my Mech project. But I kind of like the way the angled bracket looks anyways.

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10-17-2010, 01:51 PM
Ok, I've run into a little problem. I am using the new PhatomX Turret and am having trouble using the software and code provided to get it to work.

I got some help from Tyberius and Inxfergy. At first my Arduino sketch was not compiling, saying there was no "pan" located within the commander.h file. I did not know there was a new commander.h file used in the turret code compared to the one that I already had loaded on my computer from the PyPose setup. So got that part figured out. I can compile and upload the CommEXT and CommEXT_Proportional files to the Arbotix board.

Next, when trying to run the module from the CommanderEXT.py file that was included on the turret page. I was getting a problem with the "connection (COM Port) coding" Sorry if I do not know how to describe it correctly. But after asking Inxfergy, he helped me write in the correct code part for what I might need and it worked.

So now I have the file loaded on the board and I run the Py Module. I know there is a connection and the board is talking with the computer because 1) I see "-1" being printed out on the shell screen, 2) The servos are moving around.

The servos seem to go through some sort of demo, panning and tilting to a bunch of different angles then stopping when the printout on the shell screen says "digital -1". And that it then. No control. The tilt servo also shows an error on the LED light.

So I am going to try and change the servo ID numbers to 1 and 2 like they should be. Since those were left over from my comp kit, I just used them and tried changed the code to 17 and 18 as the servos were already ID'ed.

So I will try that, but if anyone has suggestions, please let me know.

P.S. - I also tried using the Commander.py file that came with PyPose folder. This made the servos move once when the module was run, but then nothing else. The virtually commander frame opens also, but controls nothing.

10-17-2010, 02:16 PM
I changed the ID numbers on the servos. Got the same results....

10-17-2010, 02:19 PM
Yeah, they will have to have to the right ID's on the servos (1 and 2) or you have to change the pan & tilt servo IDs in the sketch before downloading it.


10-17-2010, 02:38 PM
Yeah. I did both. I knew they would have to sync up. So I started by changing the IDs in the code to 17 and 18. And now have them set at 1 and 2, and 1 and 2 in the code, but still get the same results.

No control of the servos, just a little bit of movement, then it stops.

10-17-2010, 03:07 PM
Ok, I'd forgotten what that demo did. The CommanderEXT.py that comes in the distribution is just a basic test of the system, showing you how to program it from Python. It uses the extended mode to do so. Since you see it move around during the demo, things are working... this demo just isn't a nice control GUI like you were expecting. There is the .Net GUI that Trossen Robotics developed, but there isn't currently a similar non-.Net version.

The Commander.py you have with your ArbotiX distribution uses the non-extended mode to control things with the more standard commander-protocol (as found on the hardware version). You should be able to run Commander.py and move the turret around using the pan/tilt sliders found on the side. This unfortunately doesn't control the guns (although we probably could add that without much coding).


10-17-2010, 04:47 PM
Ok, that is good then that commEXT.py was just a demo of showing how the turret works. At least I got that part correct then.

I think I did try the regular commamder.py file that came with arbotix to try and control it as well. And the servos moved when the module was started, but the pan and tilt sliders did not move anything. I will try again though, I might not have tried after I changed the ID numbers. So, I will try that .py file again, and let you know what happens.

10-17-2010, 06:29 PM
Yeah, still the same thing. It will connect when using the commander.py from the arbotix folder with the commEXT uploaded. But wont give any control from the pan/tilt sliders.

The Turn/Strafe buttons do make a movement in the pan servo, but doesn't change anything else.

10-18-2010, 04:47 PM
The Turn/Strafe buttons do make a movement in the pan servo, but doesn't change anything else.

If you drag your mouse around in the little white box - does it move? I unfortunately don't have a turret setup sitting here to test it out.....


10-18-2010, 10:06 PM
No, that doesn't do anything either.

12-18-2010, 02:26 PM
So I posted the PhantomX Roboturret in the Data Center because I was in the process of making my own design.

I wanted to have a turret to practice against / use to help in any way for Mech Warfare. I drew up the plans with good old paper and pencil a little while ago. And now have started putting them in Autodesk. Here is a picture to show the progress from this morning. I hope you like it. I was going for an actual turret style from military designs.

So far I plan on using:

2 Tank guns/barrels
Trendnet Camera
2 AX-12 Servos
Mini Robocontroller & Target Plates
I think thats it, but it is possible to change as I go on.

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12-23-2010, 06:53 AM
New updated pictures on the design.

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12-23-2010, 10:08 AM
Dude, you NAILED it on that design. I'm in awe, that looks fantastic! + Rep from me.

12-23-2010, 02:29 PM
Why thank you sir. I can't wait to finish it up, and produce it in real life.

01-02-2011, 10:24 PM
Go my PhantomX turret up and running on Sunday. With the use of Commander I can now pan and tilt the turret all over the place. It is a real fast display.

I took a piece of sticky velcro and attached it to the top along with my trendnet camera. I put the whole thing in the other room started swinging it around, and watching through my laptop. It is pretty neat, especially for a soon too be rookie at Mech Warfare. Hadn't experienced the First Person View from robot level yet. Played around with it, scaring my cat, and trying to keep her in the frame.

All I have left for this now is to get the pieces cut, buy the guns and such, and design a target panel system for the whole thing and it can be called done. Hopefully soon, I will get the plastic cut and show everyone what it looks like.

01-30-2011, 09:32 PM
I got the pieces cut for the turret at the same time as my mech pieces were cut. Again they came out perfectly. So I started to put it together. So far I really like it.

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It assembled fairly easy. Had to make a few minor trims and such to allow for screw heads and things of that nature. But I think it is a pretty cool machine, with one goal, shooting. I don't have extra guns and barrels for it yet, so I just borrowed one from the Draco build quickly to see what it looks like. I also could not mount the front shield and little side shields yet because I have not made the brackets. I am either going to do them like I did for Draco, out of aluminum, or try to use the Tyberius/Trossen 3D printer method. So, later on, I will get some more permanent guns and the brackets to mount everything.

I did however plug in the arbotix and the trendnet camera. Everything works, moved it around from just looking at the video feed. Pretty neat. More to come later on.

02-09-2011, 06:56 PM
Here is a little video of the turret moving around via commander control. I need to order some more guns and barrels to get this thing done, its pretty cool, I think.


EDIT: Forgot to mention, there is a loud static noise at the beginning of the video, I don't know why. So turn down your volume some, until I change it to some music.

02-11-2011, 07:42 PM
I was looking around for 3d printing services recently. I know Tybs said he is getting a CNC machine and all, but I just wanted to look around to see what there was. I came by www.shapeways.com. I uploaded all my brackets which I wanted to get printed and voila, outcame a great price. So, I decided to purchase them. The final product was a plastic/aluminum combo material. This I thought was extra neat. The description was that it was smoother than their usual plastic white material. Stiffer, and a lot stronger (perfect for being a bracket to hold up some weight). And it was a greyish matte color because the plastic has lots of tiny aluminum particles in it throughout. So I thought that would look so much nicer for the turret being an industrial/military type design. I couldn't have gone with the metal as well, but the price jumps into the hundreds.

I liked the site a lot. I had a little trouble getting them to accept my stl file, mainly because I was selecting the wrong sizing method (I didn't understand what they wanted). But finally got it right, got an email confirmation saying the model is acceptable and ready for printing. Another cool thing about shapeways was that you don't pay for the enclosing size of the model. You only have to pay for the amount of material actually used in your parts. So, if anyone had ideas for other robot parts that really need to be custom made and don't mind spending a little extra cash, I think this site was pretty nifty.

They said my parts will be here in 10 days. So when they show up, I will show everyone what came out. And hopefully, get them put right onto my turret.

02-11-2011, 09:09 PM
I received prints of my designs from Shapeways this week. The quality and strength of the parts were better than I expected. One thing you should note is that the SWF parts are very porous and therefore easily pic up dirt. Some use acrylic floor polish to seal the plastic and prevent dirt buildup.

This is a picture of the biped body I had them print:

02-11-2011, 09:35 PM
Haha, very cool. Im glad someone else tried them out. I can't wait for the parts to roll in.

02-11-2011, 11:09 PM
I've used ponoko's "superfine plastic" 3d printing and been very happy. The parts are very smooth and the printer resolution is better than anything else I've seen. Pricing is straightforward and based purely on volume.

02-12-2011, 08:32 AM
I've used Shapeways for small parts, and i.materialise.com (http://i.materialise.com/) for the ones for my Xachikoma legs (http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showpost.php?p=46025&postcount=19).

Among the differences between the two services :
- Shapeways is cheaper for small and hollow parts, when it comes to big and strong ones - or if you need many of them - you can have better prices at i.materialise. Upload your model to both sites and see for yourself.
- i.materialise has materials you will not find elsewhere, like a rubber-like one, and titanium (ultra strong but very expensive)
- with i.materialise you can ask them to orient the model the way you need, so that the layers are arranged in the best way for your application (this has an influence over the part strength).
- shapeways allows for reselling, with a shop system. You can easily have your models sold to anyone, at the price of your choosing.

When it comes to quality, it's basically the same everywhere as they use the same printers.

02-12-2011, 08:37 AM
Thanks Scotty and Xevel. I will checking out both of those sites.

02-21-2011, 05:27 PM
I got my parts in today from Shapeways. They are really fast for being in the Netherlands. I thought it was pretty cool how they shipped them, in a individual bag with a packaging top on it. Like you would buy it from a store. But none the less, the parts are really well done. All the holes lined up perfectly with my turret, and went together smoothly. The grayish aluminum color that is added to the plastic of the "Alumide" material looks really nice against the black of the ABS plastic. One of my parts which is a long skinny guns - back plate bracket, seems a little weak. I haven't put it on yet since I don't have the guns for this guy yet. But when bolted on, I think the bracket will be plenty strong. All the others were very strong, and in the method I used them, I am 100% satisfied with the strength.

I would highly recommend the Shapeways team for and 3D printing. And if you need stronger bracket pieces than what I made, they have aluminum and steel also if you really want. There is also ABS black plastic which is stronger then the alumide.

So, I have some pictures for everyone. The guns, like I said, are not installed, but I held up one from my mech to show what it will look like. I really like it. There is also a short video showing the range with the shield on. It will be a bit smaller range facing downward when the guns are on, but still pretty good. Would be a nice turret for mech warfare for some variation of game with the turret up on one of the buildings.

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02-21-2011, 08:10 PM
This looks good :)
I can't wait to see it with the guns installed!

I would highly recommend the Shapeways team for and 3D printing. And if you need stronger bracket pieces than what I made, they have aluminum and steel also if you really want. There is also ABS black plastic which is stronger then the alumide.

I don't remember seeing aluminum as a printable material, neither at Shapeways nor at the other 3D printing services I know...

If you need stronger stuff and don't want to use steel or titanium, you can go for ABS ("grey robust" when shopping at Shapeways). It's a little more expensive than alumide.

Titanium is available at i.materialise and is madly expensive but is also the strongest thing you can 3D print at this time :p

02-21-2011, 08:21 PM
I've used Shapeways for small parts, and i.materialise.com (http://i.materialise.com/) for the ones for my Xachikoma legs (http://forums.trossenrobotics.com/showpost.php?p=46025&postcount=19)...quality, it's basically the same everywhere as they use the same printers.

Very informative post (as usual); +rep


02-21-2011, 08:25 PM
really nice build build elaughlin; definitely making me mull things over a bit!


02-21-2011, 10:21 PM
Xevel you are totally right. I think in a rush I typed aluminum. I meant to say they had steel and gold (gold plated or something). Just so used to everything being aluminum and plastic so I put that. Thanks.

02-25-2011, 07:50 AM
Are you going to be bringing this to Robo Fest also?

02-25-2011, 02:22 PM
If I am done, I sure will. Did you want to use it for anything?

02-25-2011, 04:20 PM
That is not gonna be shooting at us at robogames is it :P

02-25-2011, 06:16 PM
It is actually exactly for that purpose. To make the combat feel more real. It is going to be connected into the scoring system there, and every time a hit is scored on your mech, it will fire a series of BB's at you.

Warning: Bring goggles.

02-25-2011, 10:51 PM
Oh nooooooo

03-20-2011, 09:10 PM
A lot of progress was made on the turret. I got everything assembled on it, and even made a voltage regulator so I could connect the power input for the trendnet directly to the ax-12s and power it from the arbotix. With the help of Gdubb and Fergs, I was able to get that regulator done. It was my first custom circuit board I guess. It looks kind of crappy, but it works just fine.

I also used the turret to test out working with the gun motors. I now have everything hooked up and a working turret system. I took a few pictures of the assembled product. If I had more time before WV i would put on finishing touches, but time is running out. Ill have to put on the touches before robo games then.

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The first two are pictures of the circuit board for the voltage regulator

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The first picture here is the first person view from the trendnet camera, and the last two are just 2 views of the turret assembled.

04-23-2013, 08:18 AM
there should be a "disable" panel on it to temp. dissable it XD

04-23-2013, 10:28 AM
Love that turret!!