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FIGURE 21.8 A battery clamp made from a strip of galvanized plate, bent to the contours of the battery. Line up the metal with weather stripping for a positive grip.
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The gap also allows for the placement of one or two four-cell C battery packs, should they be necessary.
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The riser frame extends the height of the robot by approximately 15 inches. Attached to this frame will be the sundry circuit boards and support electronics, sensors, fire extinguisher, vacuum cleaner motor, or anything else you care to add. The dimensions are large enough to assure easy placement of at least a couple of full-size circuit boards, a 2 1/2-pound fire extinguisher, and a Black & Decker DustBuster. You can alter the dimensions of the frame, if desired, to accommodate other add-ons. Make the riser by cutting four 15-inch lengths of channel stock. One end of each length should be cut at 90 , the other end at 45 . Cut the mitered corners to make pairs, as shown in Fig. 21.10. Make the crosspiece by cutting a length of channel stock to exactly seven inches. Miter the ends as shown in the figure. Connect the two sidepieces and crosspiece using a 1 1/2-inch-by-3/8-inch flat angle iron. Secure the angle iron by drilling matching holes in the channel stock. Attach the stock to the angle iron by using 8/32 by 1/2-inch bolts on the crosspieces and 8/32 by 1 1/2-inch bolts on the riser pieces. Don t tighten the screws yet. Repeat the process for the other riser. Construct two beams by cutting the angle stock to 10 1/2 inches, as illustrated in Fig. 21.11. Do not miter the ends. Secure the beams to the top corners of the risers by using
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330 BUILD A ROVERBOT
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FIGURE 21.9 Top view of the Roverbot, showing the mounted motors and batteries. Note the even distribution of weight across the drive axis. This promotes stability and keeps the robot from tipping over. The wide wheelbase also helps.
1-inch-by-3/8-inch corner angle irons. Use 8/32 by 1/2-inch bolts to attach the iron to the beam. Connect the angle irons to the risers using the 8/32 by 1 1/2-inch bolts installed earlier. Add a spacer between the inside of the channel stock and the angle iron if necessary, as shown in Fig. 21.12. Use 8/32 nuts to tighten everything in place. Attach the riser to the baseplate of the robot using 1-inch-by-3/8-inch corner angle irons. As usual, use 8/32 by 1/2-inch bolts and nuts to secure the riser into place. The finished Roverbot body and frame should look at least something like the one in Fig. 21.13.
Street Test
You can test the operation of the robot by connecting the motors and battery to a temporary control switch. See 8, Building a Plastic Robot Platform, for a wiring diagram. With the components listed in Table 21.1, the robot should travel at a speed of about one foot per second. The actual speed will probably be under that because of the weight of the robot. Fully loaded, the Roverbot will probably travel at a moderate speed of about
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FIGURE 21.10 Cutting diagram for the Roverbot riser pieces (two sets).
eight or nine inches per second. That s just right for a robot that vacuums the floor, roams the house for fires, and protects against burglaries. If you need your Roverbot to go a bit faster, the easiest (and cheapest) solution is to use larger wheels. Using eight-inch wheels will make the robot travel at a top speed of 15 inches per second. One problem with using larger wheels, however, is that they raise the center of gravity of the robot. Right now, the center of gravity is kept rather low, thanks to the low position of the two heaviest objects, the batteries and motors. Jacking up the robot using larger wheels puts the center of gravity higher, so there is a slightly greater chance of the robot tipping over. You can minimize any instability by making sure that subsystems are added to the robot from the bottom of the riser and that the heaviest parts are positioned closest to the base. You can also mount the motor on the bottom of the frame instead of on top.
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