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Found 154 results

  1. Dear All, LEGO lasts forever – assuming “forever” is exceeding 6 decades – which surely will happen (or has happened already?). I still have bricks from 1965 (my first LEGO set was #323 – a push along steam train running on rubber tires …) – that still have very good clutch, colors only very little faded – and seamlessly fit into 2017 sets. Almost as long as I live, LEGO has been part of my life. True, there were dark ages from the late 1970’s to 1996 – but then it instantly came back – everything: The excitement about a new model, just another LEGO box, new bricks, colors … and it never disappeared since then, in contrast. 1998 was the ultimate rush back into the LEGO world: The Mindstorms RIS system – the RCX (at that time without the “1.0” extension) – it blew my mind. And since then a somewhat larger collection of all themes has assembled over the past 20 years. Building over multiple themes is my brick-philosophy. During my dark ages computer technology became my favorite hobby. The “IBM PC” was lightyears out of reach but other miracle machines came up: The C64, the Sinclair ZX81 – and that one was within reach of my limited budget! 1 kByte of memory and a 16 kByte dynamic RAM extension I built myself. “Tri state TTL bidirectional bus drivers”, the 74LS243 – and no internet, that remained to be invented. And it went on – the ZX Spectrum with 16 kByte of on-board memory got a 64 kByte memory “upgrade” – switchable in two banks. It was fun. Today, TTL chips are fading out and 64 kByte would result in the worst digital “photo” ever … I am not whining – so many wonderful new things have emerged! What really shocked me though was when TLG did not even think about making a 64 bit driver for the “perfect” Mindstorms USB IR/VLL tower. That beautiful communication hub for all RCX1.0, 1.5, 2.0, Scout, Spybotics, MicroScout, CodePilot bricks one is truly dead since 64 bit operating systems have taken over. At least this is what I have learned from the internet after years of searching. The next shock came around 2002, when .NET came up and Microsoft said “no more VB6 development at all”. VB.NET was so different from what I knew. In the following years I stuck to VB6 … my fault, sure. But I am moving slowly as time for LEGO is rather limited. XP vanished, 32 bit OS came out of fashion – and all that cool stuff – the Mindstorms software, the NXT software, NQC for RCX, RobotC for RCX … and all my VB6 programs – almost “gone”. Well, I kept of course my Dell Latitude E6500 laptop running WinXP SP3 with all that stuff installed and I still have it! Carefully backed-up everything and there it is, slowly aging. I hardly like to play with that thing – I don’t want that it gives up, which will eventually happen of course. Yes I know: “Install XP within a virtual machine” – but that did not work to the extent I would like to use a “LEGO programming and playing workspace”. The one thing that changed everything were internet rumors about the old Mindstorms RS232 tower working well with NQC/BricxCC on a 64 bit Win7 machine. So for the past couple of days between Christmas and New Year’s I was browsing the net, installing this and that, copying stuff from my old XP machine … and: BINGO. It all works! Everything works on my rather new DELL Precision 7510 with Win10 Professional as OS. All the old-back-from-the-late-1990’s stuff! OK, I know, not everybody will be as excited as I am. But I believe LEGO lasts forever – and now all the software I love so much, as well as all my old-fashioned programmable bricks (there are currently 9 RCX1.0, 6 Scouts, 10 MicroScouts, and 1 NXT PBricks doing work on my train layout) are directly accessible from this laptop, and they are programmed/operated using NQC/BricxCC, NXC, NXT-G, RobotC, the Mindstorms SDK 2.5, and most importantly VB6 SP6 programs – all natively running on a Win10 64 bit platform. A dream came true. And for all old or old-fashioned Mindstorms PBrick heads, for all who never managed to get their head around .NET stuff, for all who still believe that RCX’ and Scouts are miracle thing: Here is how I got it to work: Assemble some software from the internet: BricxCC (free, latest version from 2011) The Mindstorms Software Developers Kit (SDK) 2.5 (free on Philo’s homepage) RobotC for RCX 2.03 (which is free as well). Don’t download the 32 bit tower driver. It won’t work. The NXT 64 bit driver from TLG VB6 SP6 from Microsoft VB6 cumulative update for SP6 from Microsoft Get out the original CDs for: VB6 (SP5 or higher) The NXT-G 2.0 software suite – if that is not at hand, TLG’s Mindstorms website has it Assemble some required hardware The Mindstorms RS232 tower. They came in 1998 with the original RIS system – and they are widely available at BrickLink for about $5. Don’t forget to put a fresh 9V battery into the battery compartment on the back. Slide the range knob on the front to the left (short range). An USB2RS232 converter – I tried a (randomly picked) LogiLink converter, which works just fine. A PBrick of type RCX, RCX1.5, RCX2.0, Scout, or Spybotics. The next steps are for proper tower access: Plugin the USB2RS232 converter into the computer and let it find and install the driver (either shipped with the converter or on the internet). Open device manager (Windows key + X, select “Device Manager”), expand the “Ports (COM and LPT)” section, find the “USB Serial Port (COM X)” entry, double click it, choose “Port settings” then “Advanced” and make sure the COM port for this device is in the range between 1 and 8. Otherwise BricxCC and other old programs will not find the USB/RS232 converter = IR tower! It cost me some time to figure that out. When all COM ports in this range are taken by other devices, move one of them to the next free COM port far up and then manually (modern hard/software has no issue using COM ports in the range exceeding COM 8!) assign the converter to the now free COM port in the 1 – 8 range. Plugin the IR tower cable into the USB2RS232 converter. Next is getting access to RCX, RCX2, Scout, and Spybotics PBricks via BricxCC – this will also let you download the latest RCX firmware is case it is “gone”: Install BricxCC (full install) – this comes with NQC and many more things, e.g., the RCX firmware downloader. Put a PBrick from the list above into the IR tower range, a couple of inches away. Start-up BricxCC – it will try to connect to an RCX PBrick and most probably fail (“Cannot find brick. Switch it on or move it closer and press OK”). Press “Cancel”. Select “Tools” in the menu, go to “Find brick” and in the window that opens, select the correct COM port manually. Also select the correct PBrick. An RCX, RCX1.5, or RCX2 without firmware will correctly reply to the “RCX-type” in this window. The LED in the tower should come on and the program should connect to the PBrick, which is shown by many of the menu icons now being enabled. Download firmware to the PBrick (RCX, RCX1.5, RCX2) and that is done. Next is RobotC – this very straight forward: Install the software and run it. Select menu entry “Robot” and then “Platform type”. This should be “LEGO Mindstorms RCX”. Select menu entry “View”, then “Preferences”, then “RCX communications port” and select the COM port you have the USB to serial converter on. Download the required RobotC RCX firmware – and done. Next ist NXT-G – again very straight forward: Install the NXT-G software. Install the 64 bit NXT driver – done. Finally VB 6 – this is a little more elaborate: Install the Mindstorms SDK 2.5 – this will register one essential DLL correctly (vpbcom.dll). I don’t know how many times I tried that manually – I am too old I guess. Don’t install any USB tower software – it won’t work. You can test a PBrick connection using the “ScriptEd” program – upon starting it, the IR Tower LED should come on. This program also lets you download firmware or monitor the IR tower. Very handy for checking things. Install VB 6 from the CD. Now the trick here is that a full default install won’t work. Follow the instructions of this youtube video. There are many others, but this worked for me. I did the install directly from the “VB6 Professional CD” I still had (the video assumes you have an enterprise version but that makes no difference). The single most important point is to uncheck either the entire “Data Access” check box during the preparation steps for the installation or select “Data Access”, click “Change Options” and uncheck the “ADO, RDS, OLE DB Data providers” entry. The let the install program do what it has to do and be patient at the end, when it attempts to register all sorts of things. That may take several minutes, at least on my machine. I had a cup of coffee, did some other things and when I came back, it successfully finished the install. Install VB6 SP6 in case it is not already on the CD. Install the cumulative patch for VB6 SP6 in case it is not already on the CD. Right click on the new VB6 icon in the start menu, go to “Properties” and select “Run in XP SP3 compatibility mode”. Run VB6. Open or start a new project, then select “Project”, “References” and then tick the “LEGO VPBrick 2.1 Type Library” – and access to the above PBricks is established! The Mindstorms SDK has a PDF explaining the calls to the routines you need for that (e.g. ”FindPort” or “OpenPort”. This is it. At least on my computer. There may some other things to do on other machines, but it really appears to be doable. Just in case you want to program with VB6 “forever” or more importantly run all of TLG’s miracle PBricks from the latest Microsoft OS … as I do. And Yes I know, neither Microsoft nor any decent programmer will endorse this, in contrast. But then: It wasn’t my fault that TLG never published a 64bit driver for the Mindstorms USB tower. Nor did Microsoft ask me whether or not it would be OK to abandon VB6. All the best Thorsten
  2. For those who have not following my topics, a small introduction about Sioux.NET on Track, a large full automated Lego candy factory, trains, lots of Mindstorms EV3 and all controlled by a Microsoft C# application. Every year, we show our layout at Lego World in Utrecht, the Netherlands. You can watch videos on our Youtube channel (www.youtube.com/user/siouxnetontrack) with the progress of all the updates and changes we make and you can also watch a video of the layout at Lego World. The video from 2017 and 2016: We always have an interface to the visitor, the so called 'PUI' which is an abbreviation for Physical User Interface. The visitor can choose the color of the candy (s)he wants to be delivered. The colors red, green, blue and yellow can be chosen. Okay, okay, its is more purple than blue. But in our layout, that is the blue candy ;-) Through the years, we have had several types of PUI's: In 2016 and 2017 we used a so called Wheel of Fortune as the color selector: The visitor had to pull the lever, making the wheel rotate. For an adult, this works fine. But lots of our visitors are little children, who have never seen a wheel of fortune. So some children pushed the lever, some pulled it but now hard enough and some children thought they had to pull the lever and push it down until it would touch the floor. Sometimes, I really thought the Lego would crack but fortunately it survived the hundreds of enthousiastic kids. For Lego World 2018, we've made an update of the Wheel of Fortune. Instead of a lever, we decided to use a motor for the rotation. But I found out that this was easier said than done. The main problem is the weight of the wheel, it needs quite some torque to start rotating. Plus I needed a free-wheel mechanism: when the motor turns, the wheel should turn. But when the motor stops, the wheel should keep rotating until it is stopped by the pointer. I first used the free-wheel mechanism from the lever: However, he torque was too much for this free-wheel mechanism. So, I started looking on the internet for a more powerful version. On the Youtube page of William Sargeant, I found a version that looked more firm. I made two of these and in combination with two EV3 L motors it is powerful enough to spin the wheel. Apart from that, I mixed the colors in the wheel. The result: And of course a video: I need to design two buttons that will be controlled by the visitor. A green button to start rotating the wheel and a red button that stops the wheel. I'll keep you posted. Thanks for reading and watching. Enjoy, Hans
  3. Hi All, Here's a dragon MOC I made a few months ago. You can build it with 42066 (Race Jet) and 31313 (Mindstorms). It can walk forward, backwards and make turns. To my best knowledge, not many LEGO quadrupeds have this range of movement. Enjoy! I also did a making-of video. You might be interested in all my bloopers: I didn't make building instructions, but there's an LXF file here. I'm not a really good builder - I'm more of a programmer - so I would be interested in your suggestions and improvements: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B3p... Programming the dragon is not really easy, because you need to sync and resync the legs. Here's program file to get you started: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3phDY_OwOU9VEdMLUQzNUFBLW8/view
  4. Hi all, today I want to show some models I created for the exhibition „Fantasie und Technik“ in Abtsgemünd, Germany on 2./3. december 2017. All models were operated with only an EV3 Set(+1 small motor in one modelll), the motors and sensors have been plugged in just a few minutes from model to model, here the visitors could help. It was important to me that the mindstorms components are not hidden, visible and out,. to reveal their function. The models should show that it is also worth about the travelling robots to automate homemade models. There are almost no transmissions, which would unnecessarily complicate the whole thing, most everything is powered directly from the motor shaft. Most of the models could be operated with different programs. All were operated almost exclusively by the visitors. And here ist he transfer station … "Gravel" from the truck is transferred to small waggons with the loading station, the whole process is controlled by mindstorms EV3. It's again a model in which shows the Mindstorms components To illustrate the features a short schematic. The truck part (right) and the charging unit fort he train (left) work completely independently of each other, so one player can use the truck, others ride the train. Everything else is controlled by EV3. The IR sensor (1) in the blue part determines whether the truck is in position, then closes the barrier (2) and the truck is tilted (3). In the yellow part the touch sensor (4), the color sensor (5) checks whether it is empty, if so the motor (6) oft he conveyor belt starts. The truck The train The conveyor consists of two standard-LEGO conveyor belts In the picture the fill level indicator and the touch sensor, if the orange indicator on the waggon matches the column the conveyor belt starts A view from the rear, there is almost no visible mindstorms technology…. A short video on youtube (1:40) The „train“-part oft he program cu Werner
  5. Container Crane Hi all, today I want to show some models I created for the exhibition „Fantasie und Technik“ in Abtsgemünd, Germany on 2./3. december 2017. All models were operated with only an EV3 Set(+1 small motor in one modelll), the motors and sensors have been plugged in just a few minutes from model to model, here the visitors could help. It was important to me that the mindstorms components are not hidden, visible and out,. to reveal their function. The models should show that it is also worth about the travelling robots to automate homemade models. There are almost no transmissions, which would unnecessarily complicate the whole thing, most everything is powered directly from the motor shaft. Most of the models could be operated with different programs. All were operated almost exclusively by the visitors. And here ist he container crane: I only used the mindstorms parts of sets 31313 (EV3 brick, 3 motors, 2 sensors). The container terminal provides two container spaces, a railway connection and a truck Here the part that controls the on/off of the claw. The four threads of the claw are summarized in a small sled and only one rope pulled by the motor. When the claw is up (black slide left) the touch sensor stops the motor. To sink the motor moves defined turns. The second unit is the trolley drive for right / left. Through the colored tiles on the chain the IR-sensor recognizes the position of the trolley (1st place, 2nd place, railway, truck) , the yellow tile is visible just below left The last element of the movement is the adjustment of the claw. To open the claw must be lifted with the outer threads, to close it with the inner wheels. This is done by simply extend of the lengtht oft he threads The trolley of the crane 3 The four ropes are on the left attached and can be adjusted by turning the blue pins, like guitar strings The claw with the four threads, if the two outer/upper carry the load the claw is open, if the two inner/lower carry the load it is closed There are two programs: one for the automatic operation, and one for the manual mode pressing the keys of the EV3-brick. Usually the visitors used second mode and played, especially the kids... Here is a short deo showing the funtions (1:31) and the automatic mode (2:44) Hope you like it. cu Werner
  6. Hi all, today I want to show some models I created for the exhibition „Fantasie und Technik“ in Abtsgemünd, Germany on 2./3. december 2017. All models were operated with only an EV3 Set(+1 small motor in one modelll), the motors and sensors have been plugged in just a few minutes from model to model, here the visitors could help. It was important to me that the mindstorms components are not hidden, visible and out,. to reveal their function. The models should show that it is also worth about the travelling robots to automate homemade models. There are almost no transmissions, which would unnecessarily complicate the whole thing, most everything is powered directly from the motor shaft. Most of the models could be operated with different programs. All were operated almost exclusively by the visitors. First MOC ist the parking garage. Interestingly, the MOC consists of four individual parts which are only pushed together: the parking garage, the entrance with " card reader" and barrier, the baseplates to run the robot on and the mindstorms function block. The Park House itself is very classic, the grey palettes are not fixed. The entrance with the barrier, on the right hand side the parking tokens. Chip 13 (1st floor, 3rd place) is inserted. The three Motors move the slider for the plates in all directions: right / left, driving on / off, slider forward/back The entire MOC works with just one color sensor. There are various color markings: Blue (the high tile) left on the card reader adjust height ( yellow, right next to it), card reader with four colors 1 - recognize card(always green) 2 – floor 3 – place 4 - card taken out of reader? (always green) And many white dots to be counted for the position.... And here is the video (2:22) Enjoy! cu Werner
  7. So this is tragic news... the Mindstorms Gallery is closing? Does that mean that I lose all my projects that I uploaded? As if closing the message boards wasn't enough? Fortunately, I have a website, so all of that can be moved... but I still can't believe this is happening. So many memories... And I really dislike the format of the new gallery. It appears as if you can only add pictures, similar to the Technic gallery. That's a huge step backward. What is LEGO doing?
  8. The problem: it takes hours and hours of grinding to unlock the good stuff in the Star Wars Battlefront 2 game. The trick: in the Galactic Assault multiplayer mode you get some credits even without scoring any points, provided you don't get kicked for idling. The solution: this LEGO EV3 contraption that uses randomized algorithm to play with the Xbox pad"
  9. Lexus GX EV3

    (For original post) Hey guys. I just got done posting the video for my Lexus GX EV3 on YouTube. Check it out! The entire video was made about a month ago and I just posted it now. Now it's time to take this apart and head to my next build, which is finally putting together the Porsche 911 GT3 RS set I got for my birthday (I used some of its pieces in this). Be well, StudRobotics
  10. You know when you build a huge MOC and your lamplight doesn't illuminate the whole thing and you have to constantly aim and re-aim the lamp? You might not know it but this adds no less than 42 minutes to your overall build time! Outrageous! Luckily, I've found the solution: The video may be left to speak for itself: Now the build is pretty simple. The base was the toughest part. Getting two independant spinning axles througha turntable while keeping the area nice and clean! The whole structure rests on four tyres to eliminate vibration and the resulting sound. the bulb is clamped by a worm and 8-tooth gear. I did not alter any bricks to fit the bulb and the bulb can be taken out at any time if anyone requires a purely LEGO lamp. And who would dare! The lampshade is how it is because the lighbulb was very mean and melted through the system bricks that formed the first prototype. It brought a respectable amount of tears to my eye. This new framy lampshade has endured over two hours of maths homework with no sign of wear! Now, the programming did require some little thought. The aim in the vertical plane is done through a load of trigonometry, while the horizontal aim works directly with the IR sensor's "beacon heading" output. One thought I'm particularly proud of is my use of squared and cubed values to slow the motor down as they approach their desired positions, thereby eliminating any shaking from hesitation or even indicision! That's all I have to say but I'll be more than happy to answer any question from a fellow moving-LEGO-lamp enthusiast, if there ever was such a thing! Please check out my Wind-up Robot on LEGO IDEAS! Thank you, for reading my words!
  11. Since 2011, our large fully automated train layout will be displayed at Lego World 2017. In several subtopics, you could have read about the building of the delta crane, the train controlled by a Mindstorms EV3 and much more. A video of our layout in 2016 has been watched almost 30.000 times. For 2017, the train layout consists of 12 Mindstorms EV3 bricks and 1 Mindstorms NXT: 1x Train (EV3) 1x Delta Crane (EV3) 1x Wheel of Fortune (EV3) 1x Ticket Dispenser (EV3) 4x Delivery station (EV3) 1x Ticket reader (EV3) 1x Delta crane (EV3) 2x Container and Candy dispenser (EV3) 1x Air compressor (NXT) All the EV3 bricks are controlled by a Microsoft .NET application, written in C#. We are now in the phase of integrating the Lego builds and fine-tuning the software. Click on the picture below to surf to our Flickr page and you can watch a video on Youtube to see a full test run. The layout will be displayed at Lego World 2017 in Utrecht, the Netherlands from Wednesday 18 - Saturday 21 October 2017. Regards, Hans
  12. Hi all, In January 2014 I build a small 9v LEGO train layout. I use Mindstorms nxt 2.0 to control the trains and switches. Now I’ve found this video, I’ve uploaded to my YouTube Channel. The layout works like this: 1. Both trains are running on the outer track. The nxt motor controls the big yellow button on the Speed Regulator. 2. Due to small differences in the train motor and the weight of the trains, the come closer to each other. 3. If the distance between the two trains is to small (less than 3 seconds, seen by the ultrasonic sensor), the last train drives to the inner track and stops over there for 10 seconds. A nxt motor switches the switch. 4. The train on the outer track keeps driving. 5. After 10 seconds the train on the inner track moves to the color sensor, just before the switch and stops. 6. If the train on the outer track passes the other switch (ultrasonic switch), the train on the inner track starts moving to the outer track. 7. Then it all starts over again. Let me know what you think about this layout! I’m also curious how you guys control your trains and switches. Any automation with Mindstorms?? 🚂
  13. "The Pursuit of Perfection" - slogan of the Lexus brand. I'm now back with my greatest Lego creation ever. A 2010 Lexus GX 460 with EV3. It's a replica of my Dad's car, but this one's in gray with black interior. I made it as much as I could to the real car, thanks to pieces from the Arocs and Porsche set. Features Sariel's 4-speed sequential gearbox controlled by a medium motor All-wheel-drive Independent suspension Rack-and-pinion steering Fake V8 engine Six seats (could not fit a seventh one) with the rear four being foldable Opening side doors, trunk door, and hood. Detailed interior The gearbox and the two differentials in the car like to click while moving (especially on rough terrain) around, but the result was a car that was heavy, slow, but also makes lots of torque. I'm very happy with how this car came out and I couldn't have done it without all of the helpful people on the Lego community and EuroBricks. Thanks especially to my good friend TheMindGarage for never making me give up. Now I can officially call myself a true master builder. Check out this build on my EV3 community account too for more photos and information about it. I would love to make a YouTube video soon about the features of the GX EV3 and footage of me taking this build on some dirt trails in a park. I also want to take a picture of this right next to my Dad's actual car. So please follow this post to check out some stuff I might upload in the future! To finish this post, here's some collages with photos of the GX EV3.
  14. Hey Guys! I have been building with Mindstorms for just about 4 years now. To think of that is pretty mind-blowing! So I decided to re-create a video on a creation I built almost 3 years ago: My Lego Mindstorms CUB3. Description: "Built with LEGO MINDSTORMS and Technic components, this creation includes: 2 EV3 Large Motors, 1 EV3 Medium Motor, 1 EV3 InfraRed Sensor, 2 small linear-actuators, a pair of hidden caterpillar tracks, and more! With its insignificantly-looking cubic structure, CUB3 is engineered to look like your ordinary box just lying around. Decoration, anyone? Your neighbors will find out soon enough. Just watch!" Hope you guys enjoy! P.S. - Some of you EB users gave suggestions on my video editing of a previous video. I tried to follow that advice when editing this video. What do you think? Thanks!
  15. I'm back with one last issue in my GX EV3 build. I just got done finishing the doors, side panels, rear trunk door, hood, and some part of the roof. But the vehicle was so heavy that when I drove it around, it kept on doing the same thing. The diffs were clicking and the car had very much difficulty moving. Here is a picture of the bottom of the vehicle. Most of the clicking seems to be coming from the rear diff when I move the wheels by hand. I can either do two things. 1. Reinforce the rear diff somehow. 2. Improve it's off-road performance and stop the clicking somewhat by replacing the diffs with knob gears. But this will come at the cost of independent moving between the wheels. What should I do? Please give me the best response you can so the clicking will stop and I could finally take this AWD machine through some rough terrain like a real SUV. I really appreciate any advice.
  16. Hello, I just found out that the web page humble bundle has released a bunch of books about Lego and robotics. I was thinking about buying them myself but I don't know about their quality. Can someone give me a clue?
  17. For the large candy container warehouse that I am building (click here to read more details), I need three more builds: A candy feeding mechanism. I need a mechanism that feeds one candy at a time to a conveyor belt. Color detection. The color of the candy needs to be determined. Systems that puts the candy into a container. The container can then be conveyed to the warehouse where it can be stored sorted by color. The color as determined in step 2, needs to be passed to the warehouse brick so it can store the container on the right level. Color detection (step 2) I started with step 2. To realize the candy sorter, I needed to know if a Pixycam (see www.charmedlabs.com/default/pixy-lego/) can distinguish the colors of the candy. The colors are not bright (like the Lego bricks), so I wasn't sure if it was possible. I created a quick setup to test the color detection: Next, I placed the four different candies (Fruit-tella) on the conveyor belt and programmed the camera for the four colors. This is the image of the camera, from left to right: (1) raw video, (2) cooked video (= mix of raw video + color detection) and (3) detection only video. Finally, I made a simple test EV3 program. With the addition that the detected block should be more than 20 pixels in width, it detects the candies in the correct color. Candy feeding mechanism Ok, so I have a conveyor belt with a candy on it. But how do I get the candy, one by one, on the conveyor belt. This is where the feeder comes in. I searched the internet for 'real life' solutions. I found out that a rotary feeder or bowl feeder would do best. I tried to make a vibratory bowl feeder (out of 16 circle gear rack elements 24121), but that didn't work. However, rotating the bowl seemed to work so I made a prototype based on rotation and gravity. The bowl is placed at an angle of +/- 20 degrees and then it just rotates in a steady pace. The result was good: it never happened that two candies were fed to the conveyor at the same time. The next step is to make a more solid version and add the color detection unit to it. I'll keep you posted. Enjoy, Hans
  18. Yes, this is a giant F1 car. It's around 1.2 metres long and large enough to sit in. The main features: Pedal-driven rear wheels 8-speed sequential transmission shifted via paddles on steering wheel Rear disk brakes activated by button on steering wheel Electronically-controlled limited-slip differential Rack and pinion steering connected to steering wheel Display showing pedal RPM, gear and wheel speed The car uses MINDSTORMS EV3 to operate the functions. It uses one standard EV3 set's worth of electronics plus an additional Large motor. The gearbox is a 4-speed design expanded with a close-ratio 2-speed (ratios 1:1 and 1:1.2) giving 8 speeds in total. A single motor controls it - each gear requires 180 degrees of rotation. Rotating by 90 degrees puts the gearbox in neutral. A Geneva mechanism is used to control the 4-speed - when the 2-speed goes from the high gear to the low gear, the 4-speed is advanced one gear. This is how it shifts from gear 2 to gear 3. In order to reduce the amount of torque handled by the gearbox, it is geared up very highly. This increases friction and reduces efficiency, but there is no shortage of power (I calculated a human’s power output at over 100 EV3 Large motors!). The limiting factor here is how much torque the parts can handle. The disk brakes use a 49mm tyre as the disk and red rubber pads from the EV3 Expansion set. There are two sets of callipers on each wheel (4 pads per wheel in total) giving huge stopping power. A rather complex linkage allows a single input to control both sets of callipers at the same time. An EV3 Large motor pulls on the beam which activates the brakes via a bell-crank linkage. There are two brake motors so the EV3 can operate them independently - this is important for the next step. The differential is very ruggedly-built to prevent gear slippage or parts breaking. An extra small differential measures the speed difference between the two outputs - this goes to a Medium motor used as a rotation sensor. This allows the percentage differential slip to be calculated - if it exceeds a certain limit, the faster wheel is braked slightly (via the disk brakes) to give more torque to the slower one. The clutch ring is manually operated by a switch under the steering wheel- when engaged, it locks the output to zero, making the differential operate as a solid axle. This is a very similar system to the one used on the million-dollar McLaren P1 hypercar. The wheels are made from tank tread links bent backwards into a tight loop. Not sure if this is considered a "legal" solution, but it works very well. The front wheels have 42 links and the rears have 48. The rear wheels have very tight spokes in order to allow them to take the massive weight of the driver. The wheels started gaining camber (tilting) and falling off under load, so I added extra support on the other side of the wheel. The beams are set up to be under tension to push the wheel towards the axle and prevent it from falling off. The rear section uses many layers of beams and frames to make it strong enough to withstand the weight of the driver. Extra diagonal beams (the white ones) are added - they are positioned in a perfect 3:4:5 Pythagorean triple to avoid having them under compression or tension. I used a Warren truss for the central structure - that bit is virtually indestructible. The front section doesn’t look very strong, but the extra vertical beams allow it to withstand plenty of load. The chassis is very sturdy, but with a driver on board, it tends to bend quite a bit and suffers from some serious body roll issues. The steering uses a rack-and-pinion system with just over half a turn from lock-to-lock. This is similar to the steering ratio used on F1 cars. Two large custom-built universal joints are used for the steering shaft. The shaft is reinforced to prevent torsion - even a little twisting would result in inaccurate, floppy steering. The steering wheel is made to look like an F1 wheel. The two rear paddles are for the gears - right for shifting up, left for down. The front left paddle activates neutral gear when held - as soon as it is released, the transmission returns to the last gear selected. The front right paddle activates both brakes simultaneously. Each paddle presses a button on the EV3 infrared remote which is in the middle of the steering wheel. Its signal shines through the turntable and is captured by the IR receiver on the other side. This allows signals from the steering wheel to reach the EV3 brick wirelessly. The paddles have a very short throw and a crisp feel - they’re one of my favourite parts of the car. The car has a full display with features like an RPM bar and wheel speed shown (since the wheels have very little grip and are liable to doing burnouts, actual speed will be quite different). The gear number is also shown. The RPM is measured by a touch sensor and a cam connected to the pedals. The cam bumps the touch sensor every 1/7th turn of the pedals. I initially tried to use a Colour sensor to detect the black chain links against the greys but the difference in reflected light was insufficient for it to be reliable. Strength-wise, the chassis can easily deal with 20kg on the seat. Perhaps it would be ideal for a 6-year-old gearhead. Unfortunately, I'm a lot more than 20kg, so I kind of broke it. Here's the aftermath: Here's a video of me explaining and demonstrating the features of the car. You can also skip to 10:56 to see me try out the car... [All music is composed by me. My F1 V10 impression is not edited in any way!] In the end, I think it was a successful experiment. I intended this MOC to be a testbed for various ideas I had, and you might possibly see a scaled-down version of some of the mechanisms (such as the differential) in a normal-sized car of mine in the future. After all, that's why real-life car manufacturers build concepts and sell low-volume cars at a loss. If it wasn't for that, we wouldn't have the Bugatti Veyron, Pagani Zonda R, Lexus LFA and other amazing machines.
  19. As part of our fully automated train layout (see more at our blog here: siouxnetontrack.wordpress.com), I have started to build a fully automated container warehouse. The warehouse should be able to store a large number of candy containers. I want to build four rows with shelves to store the containers, served by two robots that can store and retrieve the containers. The first thing I needed is to build the vertical lift for the stacker crane. I looked at other builds and found out that there are three possible mechanisms to create the vertical movement: Gears climbing a toothed bar (element 3743), a nice example can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GToA2tOVyHg Cables pulling the lift up, an example can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCNwQVjXz60 Chain links, an example that uses the small elements 3711 can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQIAAb8x8MI And as you may have guessed, I have tried something different. I use the worm gears (element 4716) to get the vertical movement, this is the first test setup: If you stack the elements 4716 on top of each other, they should be aligned correctly to create one, long worm gear. I just finished a first prototype of the stacker crane. The crane has two forks, in order to store or retrieve a container from either the left row or the right row. The lift can move up and down, the (horizontal) movement along the row needs to be build. One EV3 M motor is used to move the forks either to the left or to the right. It uses a color sensor to determine the middle position. One EV3 L motor is used for the vertical movement. A touch sensor is used to detect the bottom position. Watch the video to see a demo: More details will be added later. Enjoy watching and please let me know what you think. Hans
  20. Play TicTacToe against this LEGO Mindstorms EV3 robot. It uses three motors to drop its balls into the right field and a NXTCam to view the board. It then calculates the best move using a MiniMax Algorithm. All future moves are explored and rated according to their winning chances. An IR sensor detects your hand when you drop your ball. The robot is using red balls and the human player uses blue balls. The java code is available at Github and the building instructions are available for LEGO Digital Designer on my website show in the description. I used the MinuteBot baseplate, which is useful for building static Mindstorms models. I also used a LED lamp to provide consistent lighting that is powered through the USB port of the EV3. The position of the camera can be centered on the board using the wrench and through sliding along the axles. I hope you enjoy this robot. More information at http://www.bartneck.de/2017/07/17/tictactoe-playing-lego-mindstorms-robot-using-computer-vision/
  21. Posted to rebrick.com, so also details here Final model Details in 4th reply Finally decided what to build for lego official contest. It will be distance counter - automatic, as it is about some automation. Started with 3 level counter - cm, dm and m. First level is continious, other to discret with 10 steps.
  22. I'm programming my EV3 vehicle to be operated by an IR beacon remote. I've successfully got the car to be able to move, but I'm stuck on something else. My vehicle has a 4-speed transmission, and a medium motor shifts the gears. I used the remote's topmost button (the one that turns on the green light on the remote) for shifting the gearbox. But when I press it, something goes off. It's really hard to say, but what I know is that the topmost button isn't acting like a normal button. So the motor keeps on moving until the IR sensor realizes the green light is off. I really need help with the program because I just want the topmost button to act like a normal button so I can press it to make the medium motor shift one gear with a one second wait before shifting to the next one. I would love a very helpful response from someone that knows how to program the IR remote and if there is no way to get the topmost button to get the result I want, an alternative would be nice so I can be able to shift gears with the push of a button on the remote.
  23. I wanted to tell you about this new (and cool if I may say) program that is being developed by a company with more than 30 years of experience in robotics for education called Intelitek. This program, called CoderZ, is all about teaching kids STEM through robotics and programming. This program enables an entire team to have a robot for each participant/member. How? Well, CoderZ is a fully operational robot simulator. Right now, Intelitek is giving FLL teams a free trial that lasts until the end of June, this is a great opportunity for all teams to hone their developing skills for next year’s challenge. You can easily register and start using CoderZ by clicking here: bit.ly/2pq0LnA Feel free to share your thoughts with the CoderZ team after registering and trying it out at http://gocoderz.com/.
  24. When I was building the Robot Arm (see my mail thread here), I stumbled upon the ABB robot flex picker (also known as a delta robot). I was amazed about the simple construction and how fast it can work. Although I am definitely not making the first one of Lego, I wanted to build my own version of it. In this thread you can follow the work in progress. I have now build the base and the three arms that will support the grabber. The grabber will be able to pick up the candy containers and move them to a different location. Don't know yet what its place will be on the layout, but I am confident that it will have its use. Photos can be found at Flickr, click on the picture below to see some more pics and an animated gif. Please let me know that you think of it. Enjoy, Hans
  25. I said before in my previous post that I had some problems with my GX EV3 4x4 chassis that I needed to fix. Once again, it's more gear grinding/clicking, but this time it's only in the front and rear differential gears. The grinding occurs whenever the chassis tries to drive into a wall or when it tries to drive in different conditions (because as an SUV it should drive smoothly in dirt or uneven terrain). What also annoys me is that when I push the car, instead of letting the motors move, the differentials make clicking noises that, like I said before, sound like a machine gun. I really need help so I can stop the differentials from clicking so when the car tries to drive into the walls, the motors won't still move while the differentials click, and so the car can be a lot more versatile on uneven terrain (such as what I used for testing, blankets) without the differentials causing a problem when the car moves. Here's some pictures of the bottom of the chassis.