Mar 27, 2013

The mother of all LEGO® milling machines

It has become rare these days even for the NXT STEP to post about the predecessor of the NXT, the  honorable RCX .
However, Arthur Sacek, the inventor of the great NXT milling  machine, has rebuilt the model lately all started with: the LEGO® RCX Lathe.

Mar 20, 2013


Last February was the famous LEGO WORLD 2013 show at the Bella Center in Copenhagen. If like me, you where unable to attend the show in person, be happy to see here today an amazing professional video of the MINDSTORMS booth and EV3 action!!!

Some highlight include Kjeld riding Simon's awesome MINDSTORMS wheelchair,  Lee's EVAN and the RED Dragon  and a whole bunch of EV3RSTORM dancing the go go bot!!

Kudo's to the master behind this video edit and soundtrack... i really like it!

: . .

Mar 18, 2013


The NXT STEP Blog became the reference on the topic of LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT so when The LEGO Group announced the new MINDSTORMS EV3 earlier this year at the CES 2013 Show we had to take a decision regarding the future of this blog.  It was unanimously decided among the blog's authors that "Yes we're still doing NXT but we'll also be covering all things EV3!"  

In other word we all agreed The NXT STEP is... EV3
...and so it was time for a new header:

: . . 

Mar 17, 2013

Muhammad Ali VS Balboa.. uppercut anyone?

There's a new boxer in town named Balboa... and he's one mean hi-tech boxing robot!!!

I wonder if Muhammad Ali, NeXTSTORM's little one-kit boxing robot, would win in a match against Balboa? What do you think?

MySnailEatsPizza did a real fine job with this one!! I really like his little red gloves ;) 

: . .


Mar 11, 2013

Paper plane folding and shooting robot

COOL, I always wanted to have this, so I can send flyers all around.

Here is a full description by the creator:

Station 1, paper magazine
The level of the paper is automatically adjusted so that the paper at the top always go straight into the machine. I do this with a lego accelerometer sensor that is mounted on a arm the rests on the top of the paper pile, so as the machines runs and the paper pile gets smaller and the angel of the arm changes. The accelerometer sensors tilt function then tells the motor to raise the magazine. And when i fill the machine with paper the motor will lower the magazine.

Station 2, Tip fold
Using a color sensor the check when the paper is in the correct spot and then the machine holds the paper in 3 spot with pneumatic cylinders. It hold the paper right at the edge of the folds so that the paper doesn't move. Because i have to hold the paper at the tip as well and not be in the way of the fold i get a gap of 2-3mm at the tip that doesn't get folded. So the tip is not perfect.

Station 3, Wing fold
The wings fold automatically by the forward motion. How its done is hard to see in the clip of V2 and the picture above but you can see it in the V1 clip at 1:01.

Station 4, Middle fold
This station is the one I'm most proud of.
The motors that drive the wheels is inside the two moving parts (1 motor for each side). The folding is done with a XL motor that drives 4 linear units. As the fold is happening there is 1 arm at each side that hold the paper to make sure that the paper don't starts to fold in the wrong direction and right before the fold is done the arms get pulled away with small pneumatic cylinder. Also here i use color sensors to tell when the paper is ready.

Station 5, Throwing
When the plane been moved into this station and is ready to shot the 2 XL motors start the throwing wheels and then the driving wheels(the ones that transport the paper) get pulled away with pneumatic cylinders right before a pneumatic cylinder pulls the throwing wheels together.

Compressor ( the unit next to the two nxt controllers.)
I use a motor that drives 2 small pumps.
To check the pressure i use a pneumatic cylinder that press on some springs. The pneumatic linear motion i then convert to a rotation movement. and then on a wheel i have taped on a paper"shading scale"(dark in one end and gets lighter unit its completely white). Then i have a light sensor that looks at it and i get a analog reading of the pressure. (so this is the only part thats not lego, a small printed black/white piece of paper. + tape)

Servo relay ( the unit next to the compressor)
For some reason the drive motors for station 4 didn't like to be controlled by IR receivers (could be cable length or that the motors was too stress so that current got to high) So i had to use a battery box directly to the motors, and then used a servo motor to control the battery box.

Pneumatic valves
All the pneumatic valves is controlled by servo motors.

2x NXT
5x NXT Servo motors
4x NXT Color sensors
3x NXT Touch sensors
1x Touch sensor multiplexer
1x NXT accelerometer sensor
1x NXT Infrared Link sensor
5x Normal Power function motors
5x XL Power function motors
4x IR receivers
5x Battery boxes
about 7149 lego pieces

For the 3d drawing i used SR3D builder. (did the drawing after the machine was complete)

NXTLog with some pictures and explanation
WOW and if the machine it self wasn't cool enough, he also made a complete 3D drawing now that is ultra cool !!!

Mar 4, 2013

Tamago egg app, egg breaker

Sartphones are nice, but spending all your time with tapping a screen to break the egg, seems to call for a MINDSTORMS robot.

The hard part was sensing the LEGO fingers, smart phones have capacitive screens, those do not detect plastic fingers, so to do this a special foil was used. (the anti static bags that normally contain printed circuits)
Read more on how touchscreens work
The complete robot was build on the special Minutebot baseplate
The maximum speed in controlling the smart phone was 7.5 times per second.

again a nice project form NXT1engineer.

Mar 1, 2013

Programming IDE for EV3 in action

On the LEGO® MINDSTORMS You Tube channel, a new video by LEGO® Education provides a preview on the official programming IDE  for the upcoming MINDSTORMS generation EV3 in action:

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