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Chicago Area Robotics Group CHIBOTS: Chicago Area
Robotics Group


Nice shirt, Jim
The table isn't broken. It's masking tape for the line-following demonstration
Who is that masked man? And why doesn't he want to be seen with us? :)Either we need a bigger room or I need a panoramic lens

ChiBots, Chicago Area Robotics Group, met at the Schaumburg Public Library at 1:00 PM.

It was a good crowd! Fifteen people attended. Everyone didn't even get a chance to get around to talk to everybody else.

Showing the tank base Tank with solderless breadboard for prototyping. Notice the gear box
Mike looking at Tom's tread base Click to see a movie of the tank rolling over a hand
(Click the last picture for a movie)

Mike Bakula

Mike encouraged everyone to attend the Critter Crunch contest. He distributed rules and Capricon 2001 Tellurian Exposition flyers.

Mike also showed his robot that is being built on a tank base. The solderless breadboard is for prototyping, but will be replaced with something more permanent before battle.

Mike adds:
"Tamiya kit TAM 30901 -- 1/48 scale remote control tank. Type 74 JG SDF Main Battle Tank, motorized.

That's a Japanese self-defense force tank, so the model might have actually been an import, as opposed to a kit for the U.S. market. A web search of hobby shops might still turn a few up, though."

Side view of mini-Sumo robot Front view of mini-Sumo robot
Jim talking about his mini-Sumo robot. Two of his other robots are in front of him A fire-fighting robot

Jim Munro

Jim showed off his HC11-based mini-Sumo robot.

More importantly, Jim talked about the Trinity College Fire Fighting contest. Jim would like to host a regional qualification contest in Chicago. Jim's fire-fighting robot demonstrated sound activation, sonar ranging, flame tracking, and flame extinguishing. It's a really cool robot!

Tom's tread base starting to move Treads with two Maxon motors
Tread base, batteries, and cover Click to see a movie of the tread base in action
(Click the last picture for a movie)

Tom Gralewicz

Tom impressed everyone with a dual Maxon motor base of two salvaged treads. Very quiet operation and good speed.

Tom showed some interesting and low priced batteries he discovered. Tom also brought a big bag of nylon spacers to share with everyone.

Tom adds:
You can find the data sheet on the OP Amps I was giving out at the meeting at:

Let me know what you use them for - and if you need more. Not only do I have a bunch but also BG is still selling them for $0.99 (ICSL165)

P.S. They are 3A not 2A!

An attentive audience for John A base for a fleet of capture-the-flag robots

John Orlando

John brought a tiny CMOS digital camera module, a pair of radio modem development boards, and a powerful PIC clone chip board.

He discussed his plans for teams of vision-enabled robots that can play capture-the-flag. The base body is made from standard copper PCB board. Not only is it a strong, lightweight material, but also the copper acts as a noise-limiting plain.

Sweet following a line on the table Bugdozer vs. Jim's mini-Sumo

David Cook (not pictured)

I brought Sweet, the line-following robot. The red table is a bit difficult to discern from the blue masking tape line when a monochrome red LED is used to determine contrast. Still, Sweet performed well.

At the end, Bugdozer sparred with Jim's mini-Sumo.

What a great turn out! Please come to a future meeting -- all are welcome.

ChiBots Meeting Minutes for Sunday, December 17, 2000

by David Wooden

1. Members present at the meeting

John Patrick, President
Jim Fiocca, Vice President / Treasurer
David Wooden, Secretary
David Cook, Webmaster
Mike Bakula
David Castlewite
Gabriel Cheifetz
Nicholas Darrow
Tom Gralewicz
Paul Jurczak
James Munro
John Orlando
Bren3dan Pope
Brian Schwartz

2. Competitions

After some discussion, it was decided that we would hold our first competition some time in April or May of 2000. The third Sunday in May was suggested. The competitions to be held will be Line Following and Sumo. The Sumo weight classes will be 500 g and 3 kg. Potential venues were discussed briefly. Brian Schwartz suggested that his school would be interested in hosting the event. Other suggestions were the Museum of Science and Industry and the Sci Tech Interactive Science Museum in Aurora, as well as local universities.

Previous CIRC President James Munro suggested a Firefighting competition. This event will be planned for future competitions. Time and resource commitments need to be investigated. Registration in advance should be required to ensure that the event is properly scaled to the number of competitors. This will be discussed further in January, 2001.

Mike Bakula discussed the Critter Crunch competition at the Capricon Tellurian Exposition. Mike also passed out Critter Crunch rules and Tellurian Exposition flyers. The time and location for the Tellurian Exposition are:

February 8 through 11, 2001
Sheraton Arlington Park
3400 W. Euclid
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
The Critter Crunch competition, which takes place on Sunday, February 11, is a cross between Sumo and BattleBots. The contest takes place on a table 8 feet by 8 feet wide. Two weight classes are allowed: 20 pounds and 2 pounds. Size is limited to 12 inches by 12 inches. Cost to enter the convention is $30.00 for one day, or $60.00 for the entire weekend. More information is available from Mike Bakula,

3. Demonstrations

Several small robots were shown and demonstrated. James Munro showed three robots: a mini-Sumo robot, a Firefighting robot, and a light-sensing robot. Tom Gralewicz showed a tank tread base made from two tape drive transport mechanisms. After borrowing a battery pack he was able to show the base moving across the table. Mike Bakula showed a robot base made from a scale model tank. David Cook showed his line-following robot made from a racecar shaped m&m's box. He also showed his Champion Mini-Sumo robot, Bugdozer. John Orlando showed a base made from a printed circuit board and two servos with wheels attached, and a pair of FM Transceiver proto boards. (Pictures of the robots are available above.)

4. Swap meet and door prizes

Tom Gralewicz brought in a large bag of nylon spacers and some 2 A, 40 V op amps to use for motor controllers. David Cook brought LED packs (10 rectangular LEDs side by side in a DIP package) and chip sockets.