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Chicago Area Robotics Group CHIBOTS: Chicago Area
Robotics Group


Another great turnout!

Another great turnout!

Unpainted, curve, and straight track segments

Line Following Contest

Mike Bakula made a number of interchangeable painted tiles for creating a line following course. (Thanks Mike!)

The tiles are made out of hardboard (Masonite). They are painted with Krylon Ultra Flat Black for the background and Krylon Gloss White for the line. Each tile is 12 inches by 12 inches.

Robots will be limited to 8 1/2" x 11".

Sweet following the lines of the course

As you can see in the picture above, the tiles do have a bit of slack in fit and variation. Although tape will probably be used underneath to keep the tiles from slipping away, competitors should be designed to handle these discrepancies.

Sweet ran very well on the sample course. In fact, despite increasing difficulty in tile rearrangement by the club president, John Patrick, Sweet completed the laps even running at 18 volts with the largest wheels.

[David says: Okay, I'm proud, but please don't allow Sweet to deter you from entering.]

Joe Fao and Mike Bakula

Critter Crunch

Joe Fao and Mike Bakula discussed Critter Crunch.
Specifically, Joe invites everyone to attend and participate at the next competition.

See the rules at

Brian Schwartz, Elliot Goodman, John Patrick, Tom Gralewicz, Jim Fiocca, Mike Bakula, (hidden), John Orlando, David Wooden, Jim Munro, (hidden), (hidden), new, new, new
Names please! Brian Schwartz, Elliot Goodman, John Patrick, Tom Gralewicz, Jim Fiocca, Mike Bakula, (hidden), John Orlando, David Wooden, Jim Munro, (hidden), (hidden), new, new, new

John Orlando, new, Brian Schwartz, (hidden), John Patrick, Elliot Goodman Tom Gralewicz, Joe Fao, Brian Schwartz, Elliot Goodman David Wooden, Jim Munro
Left: John Orlando, new, Brian Schwartz, (hidden), John Patrick, Elliot Goodman.
Middle: Tom Gralewicz, Joe Fao, Brian Schwartz, Elliot Goodman.
Right: David Wooden, Jim Munro.

Talking and Swapping

As usual, Tom Gralewicz brought a bunch of interesting motors and parts to rummage through. In fact, he invited everyone to come up to his warehouse in Milwaukee to look through his bins, drink beer, and deconstruct assemblies. Actually, he didn't say anything about the "beer" part, so better bring your own just in case.

John Patrick brought a competition-grade NiMH triple battery pack. Nine amp-hours at 8.4 volts?

Joe Fao brought some windshield wiper motors. They're worm geared, so they only turn in one direction. They weigh just over two pounds each. Impossible to turn by hand, they moved smoothly at six volts from NiCd N-size cells.

John Orlando brought an interesting programmable logic chip programming board.

David Cook brought a surface-mount 38-kHz oscillator driver board.

All Welcome! It was great to see everyone again, plus some new faces. Please come to a future meeting.

ChiBots Meeting Minutes for Sunday, March 11, 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
Nick Boerema
Clifford Boerema
John Dolecki
John Dolecki Jr.
Mike Dolecki
Joe Fao
James H. Fisher
Elliot Goodman
Tom Gralewicz
Paul Jurczak
Don Kerste
Larry Maggiano
James Munro
Phil Myer
John Orlando
Michael Riley
Brian Schwartz

2. Old Business

A. Discussion of contest location
The first competition is to be held in September, following a series of alternating demonstrations beginning with a Line Following demonstration after the May meeting. The September competition is tentatively planned to be held at the SciTech Interactive Science Center in Aurora.

B. Discussion of Line Follower rules
Winner will be determined by the best time for the completion of three laps. If no one completes the course, the winner will be determined by who got the farthest. The track will consist of up to 24 tiles, each tile being 12" X 12". Tiles will be painted with Krylon Ultra Flat Black paint, and the lines will be 3/4" wide painted with Krylon Flat White. Robots will be limited in size to 8.5" X 11". There will be no weight limit. (If your robot is heavy enough to break the tiles, you must replace the broken ones!)

For future contests, side by side tracks are desired so that robots can compete against each other. A non-contact starting method will be desired to insure fair starts. Sound and infrared were suggested. Future contests may also include bonuses for counting laps or other behaviors which require more advanced intelligence. Start and stop lines were suggested.

Mike Bakula will have a complete version of the rules to bring to the next meeting.

C. Demonstration of Line Follower boards
A sample set of tiles was brought to the meeting. David Cook’s robot, Sweet, was demonstrated following the track successfully.

E. Discussion of when to start collecting dues
It was decided that dues, $20.00 per year, would be collected at the April meeting. Future dues will be due the first of the year.

The idea of a contest entry fee of $5.00 per robot was discussed. Members would be allowed to enter one robot in each contest free of charge.

Jim Fiocca will look into opening a checking account for the club. National City Bank was suggested.

3. New Business

A. Critter Crunch
We are hosting the next Critter Crunch at DucKon at the Lisle Hyatt on May 20. Joe Fao has put the Critter Crunch rules on his site at Joe is trying to get a reduced rate for people who only wish to attend the Critter Crunch. We may also host a Critter Crunch ay WindyCon in November.

B. Technical Discussion / Demonstration
Starting at the April meeting, we will try to have a half-hour technical discussion on a topic of interest to robot builders. Joe Fao has volunteered to do the first one on Servo Modification at the April meeting. Anyone who has an idea for a discussion is encouraged to present it.

C. Swap Meet
Meetings will be (are) followed by a swap meet. Tom Gralewicz has suggested that swap meets be held in a far corner of the parking lot. This would keep us from hauling large quantities of stuff into the library.

4. Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned, followed by the usual offline discussion and swapping.