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Chicago Area Robotics Group CHIBOTS: Chicago Area
Robotics Group


Many familiar faces And some new faces, too
John, being presidential

ChiBots, Chicago Area Robotics Group, switched over to a new, larger room at the Schaumburg Public Library. And a good thing we did, because it was the largest crowd yet! Twenty-two people attended.

John Patrick began the first hour of the meeting with business. Establishing contests, discussing annual dues, and ensuring everyone was on the new email list.

Tom talking Showing the batteries and motors
Treaded bot with mouse control Click to see a movie of the robot under remote mouse button control
(Click the last picture for a movie)

Tom Gralewicz

Tom made a lot of progress on his Critter Crunch robot. In fact, it's now driving under tethered control from mouse buttons. Tom added an additional button to provide left and right rotation as well as forward and backwards control. (No, the mouse ball doesn't control the movement.)

In order to bump the power to 24 volts, Tom paid $17 for an additional battery. The first five batteries were only $1 each.

John Orlando John talks about two R/C cars
Two R/C cars that were given away

John Orlando

Last meeting, John talked about purchasing the remaining stock of some RC cars. This meeting, John brought two of the cars to demonstrate. Then, he gave the cars away as door prizes!

Jim talking about the Trinity contest Sound board
Click to see a movie of Jim's fire-fighting robot looking for a fire
(Click the above picture for a movie)

Jim Munro

Jim's Trinity College Fire Fighting robot is now moving.

Jim demonstrated a sound chip that can record, store, and play twenty seconds of digitized sounds. Smaller sound bites are addressable.

Jim also brought a photovore, B.E.A.M. robot that he built from a kit. He quickly pointed out that indoors in the dead of winter in Chicago is not the best time to show off a solar-powered robot.

David Cook (not pictured)

I brought catalogs from Lego Shop At Home and Maxon Motors. I showed my new digital scale. I also brought a tool that has a 90-degree angle and a 45-degree angle that automatically finds the center of a circle.

But, the most significant piece was a tachometer and temperature board I was developing for the BattleBot crew pictured below.

Bren3dan Pope and Brian Schwartz

Bren3dan Pope and Brian Schwartz

Bren3dan (silent '3') told some great stories about the development of their BattleBot. They also brought a movie, but we didn't have the library video system this time, so it will be shown next month.

Mike standing. John peeking. John's 180M Mark II

Mike Bakula and John Patrick

Mike Bakula reminded everyone to try to attend the Critter Crunch competition at the Capricon Tellurian Exposition.

John Patrick's Critter Crunch champion, 180M Mk. II, made a return appearance. More detailed images appear in the September 2000 meeting.

Swap meet and hands-on.

Parts Swap and Hands-On Demos

The meeting ended with hands-on demonstrations and parts swapping. David Wooden passed around double-sided bare PCBs, which David Cook wasn't bashful about taking a bunch.

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

ChiBots Meeting Minutes for Sunday, January 14, 2001
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
Craig Bedward
Caroline Bedward
Nick Boerema
Clifford Boerema
Mike Cary
Arthur Ching
Tom Gralewicz
Brian Jones
Leon Jones
Paul Jurczak
James Munro
Jake Ness
John Orlando
Bren3dan Pope
Brian Schwartz

2. Agenda
Adoption of Constitution
Open Discussion

3. Adoption of Constitution
The Constitution was adopted as currently written. There were no dissenting votes.

4. Contests
Committees were assigned to determine rules and equipment for competitions:

Line Following Committee:
Tom Gralewicz

Sumo Committee:
David Cook

Firefighting Committee:
Jim Munro
Paul Jurczak

A date was tentatively set for a competition involving Line Following and Sumo for the May 13 meeting. (It was mentioned later on the mailing list that that is also Motherís Day. The meeting will probably be rescheduled.) This first competition will be more or less a dry run to determine what is involved in holding a competition. A demonstration of firefighting may also take place, but it will be too soon for a contest. Jim planned to get the larger room at the library for 4-5 hours (Noon til closing).

5. Dues
Tom Gralewicz threw out $20 per year as an amount that no one would object to. John Patrick suggested adjusting the rate by membership level; Full membership would cost more than Student or Family or other levels. Mike Bakula recommended determining what the needs of the organization would be before determining membership rates. Tom suggested that too many different price breaks would be confusing. We tentatively settled on $20 for a full membership, which includes the right to vote.

6. Open Discussion
John looking for someone to help teach a middle school class. There will be about 15 students around 14-16 years old. The class will use Lego MindStorms to teach basic robotics.

Brian Schwartz said that his Sci Tech class would be open to robot projects.

Tom Gralewicz brought up the possibility of a Mentor program.

7. Show & Tell
Tom Gralewicz has made a base for a Critter Crunch contender from the two belt drives he showed at the last meeting. The robot is controlled by using the buttons of an old 3-button mouse, with an extra button added. Tom recommends that you always fuse the batteries, and use jumper blocks to support modular design.

John Orlando gave away two toy RC model cars to use as robot bases.

Jim Munro showed a solar powered light follower, an audio sampling board and further progress on his Firefighting robot.

David Cook showed the tachometer board he is building for Brian Schwartz and Bren3dan Popeís Heavyweight BattleBot. The board has temperature readings as well as tachometer and counter functionality.

Bren3dan described the 23-horsepower airplane motor that he and Brian plan to power their weapons, two counter rotating steel discs with very large teeth. The motor is 240cc and will produce 27 horsepower using methanol fuel.

Mike Bakula mentioned the Critter Crunch at the Tellurian Exposition, hosted by Capricon, on February 10 at 10:00 AM. Robots for the Critter Crunch must fit within a 12"x12"x12" square. There are two weight classes: 2 lbs and 20 lbs. A one-day membership allowing full access to the exposition as well as the Critter Crunch will cost $30.00.

John Patrick showed his Critter Crunch robot, 180M Mk II. The robot consists of two wheels driven by modified servos, a porcelain drawer knob, and a flippable scoop.

Tom Gralewicz suggested a new category for the meetings: Ask For Help. He then asked for help with Scenix processors.