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Thread: New hobby robot guy

  1. #1
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    New hobby robot guy

    Hi all,

    I'm pretty new at this and am still tweaking my $50 robot from the SocietyofRobots tutorial. I'm trying to plot out my next steps and figure out where to go from here. Should I go with kits from lynxmotion or build up from scratch with servos, DC motors, etc.? Anyone have any cool projects that they could recommend?

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    Re: New hobby robot guy

    Welcome!

    I'd say it totally depends on what type of bot you want to build, did you have anything particular in mind?

    You might check out our own projects section here for inspiration and/or ideas.

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    Re: New hobby robot guy

    I don't have anything particularly in mind. A biped would be nice, but wheels are good too. I guess I just want to learn for the time being until I understand a little more about what is available to me. I'm really interested in being able to use things like Roborealm and MS Robotics Studio with whatever it is I build. What good is a hardware platform without good software?

    Where is the best place to start for hardware compatible with popular software? So far I've only used Atmel microcontrollers because from what I've read there is basically no software cost for compilers and editors.

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    Re: New hobby robot guy

    IMO, the best hardware platform possible is a bot with an onboard PC, making Roborealm and MSRS able to run locally. Very viable these days too. Check out the pico-ITX platform, they're quite tiny and have a LOT of features packed into them. It's what my own J5 project is based on. A Rover type robot with an onboard PC, cameras, and sensors could provide a great learning tool as far as programming and implementation go.

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    Re: New hobby robot guy

    If you are thinking roborealm and/or MSRS you will be thinking of having a computer in the mix so the serializer is a good way to go. You will need to decide if the PC will be onboard or offboard. If you want a packaged kit that has the software and hardware and could either have wheels or legs then take a look at the Bioloid stuff.

    Serializer:
    http://www.trossenrobotics.com/store...erializer.aspx

    Stinger based on the Serializer:
    http://www.trossenrobotics.com/stinger-robot-kit.aspx

    Bioloid kits and parts:
    http://www.trossenrobotics.com/bioloid-robot-kits.aspx

    Cheers

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    Re: New hobby robot guy

    Wow, it looks like I may have some misconceptions about some of the software available and how to use it. I've seen a lot of posts saying "(insert software here) can do it" and perhaps I didn't look into it enough. So what would "Joe average beginner roboticist" use for controlling and programming their robot? Trust me, I will definitely be looking through the forums for examples.

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    Re: New hobby robot guy

    Hi javafiend! Welcome to the community. As a fairly new addition to the hobby I have some recent experience with getting things figured out. I personally went with the serializer and have been having a good time learning how to interface with it and make it do what I want it to.

    Some things to keep in mind as you decide where to go next:

    1. Understand your power source. If you want to run a PC and bot your platform will need to support it.
    2. Decide if you want to have a self sustained bot or are will to interface to a PC. The serializer is just an exention of a PC, so while you can go wireless...it still has to have the PC to function.
    3. Know your budget.

    By the time you pickup a controller, sensors, motors/servos, etc. it might have been less expensive to just pickup a kit. Good luck with your adventure. Be sure to let us know how things go! You'll find this is a great community to find help and get feedback.

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    Re: New hobby robot guy

    >>>So what would "Joe average beginner roboticist" use for controlling and programming their robot?

    It's hard to suggest without knowing this: Are you a programmer? What level of programming can you do if so? That's the big question. The main difference between kits and building from parts is a persons skill level as a programmer or how much dirty work they want to do. You can get something like a bioloid kit or Lego Mindstorms if you don't want to code your own stuff and would rather a GUI that is easy to learn.

    If you are talking about building from scratch and you are a programmer then it's a lot of research and learning. There is no "platform" that exists yet. Just parts and pieces out there. MSRS is not a beginners environment either BTW.

    Do you know which category you fall into? That would help us to give advice.

  9. #9

    Re: New hobby robot guy

    First, kiss your sanity goodbye.
    Second, kiss your wallet goodbye.
    Third, prostrate yourself before your PC and loudly proclaim "I'm not worthy!"

    You're well on your way.

    Do more thinking than doing, initially. It will pay off.

    This site (and others) is a great place to get ideas. Find a design that's not too far outside your abilities, as almost all of them can be expanded as you get up to speed. Rip off other people's ideas as often as you can. They won't mind, they will be flattered.

    Get frustrated. It's part of the experience.

  10. #10
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    Re: New hobby robot guy

    I guess I should have mentioned to start off with that I am a programmer. I've been stuck doing web development for the last several years, so haven't been using any "real" programming languages lately.

    As far as platform goes, I think my budget constrains me to being tethered to a PC or using a programmable board. For all I know at this point, those could very well be the same thing. Ah well, so much to learn, so little money... fortunately there are a lot of folks smarter than me around here.

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