Posts Tagged ‘Beetle Bot’

Welcome to Good Idea at the Time!

datePosted 12:31 AM, June 18th, 2010 by MarkleB

This is a pretty good day for my first post, because it’s a good “projects” example day.

First of all, how cool is this domain name?  Completely shocked when I saw it was still available.  I’ve been thinking for a while to start two blogs, one for geek projects (name never determined) and one for my bad parenting (called  I have no idea what used to host, but it’s a domain squatter now.  When I found this domain available, I realized it could be used equally well for both blog ideas.  Feel free to take and make me look like the amateur I am at being a bad parent.

My project for today (and yesterday, and now tomorrow) was supposed to be a Beetle Bot.  This should be a one-evening project.

The lesson learned the hard way last night was: Do not use Bondo to hold your beetle robot together.  Feel free to rebuild a Volkswagen Beetle with it, instead.

Tonight, I couldn’t even get to the project until much later than expected. As I was closing and locking the door of my car, the door’s lock fell inside the door.  (Yeah, I A) have manual locks and B) have to lock the car door from the outside using the key, by manufacturer design to ensure I don’t lock it in there.)

On the bright side, I’ve always wondered how hard it is to get inside a car door, with how entryless (not a word) their construction seems.  Now I know.  I also know that it’s not getting into the door that’s the hard part.

A while ago, I had one broken bolt in that car cost in the neighborhood of $600.  It appears to have happened again, but this time it cost me around $1.50.  (I don’t remember how much, but I know I used a credit card to pay for it. So I can find out exactly how much later. See how I totally paid for a $1.50 item with a credit card on purpose and not because my brain gets easily fried?)

Anyway, that set my robot building back an hour and a half.  I’d picked up the epoxy and this time I got the robot entirely built … But discovered I should have done more testing first.

See, the smallest motors that sells are 1.5 Vdc mini, mini, mini motors.  Which is great, since the Beetle Bot Instructions calls for 1.5 Vdc motors.  Except that they’re ACTUALLY 1.5 Vdc, and most AA and AAA batteries these days are closer to 1.3 V than 1.5.  So I could power one motor, or the other, but not both.

Solution?  Like so much else in the world, the dollar store. They had little hand-held personal fans that have the proper 1.5 Vdc motors that will (hopefully) work with slightly underpowered batteries.  Also?  They have cool little mini-frisbees in three or four packs (depending on which comic book character you want on them) which are perfect for the top shell to these Beetle Bots.  So much great stuff there to break to pieces and abuse.

So in one night, my project count is:

  1. Unexpected car project
  2. Failed robot project
  3. Domain purchased, blog created, and premiere post put up!

Even though it’s taking me past midnight to get all this done, at least I get to end on a success.  Looks like the Beetle Bot and the Bristle Bot will have to end up being weekend projects.