Monthly Archives: July 2012

Windshield Wiper Motor Use for Robotics

hexapod-robot-windshield-wiper-motor-mountsHobby servos work great for small robots, but what about if you want to build a somewhat larger bot that needs a motor with a lot of torque?  They may not have the controllability of a servo, but for the price ($16.49 from Monsterguts) they might be an attractive option for your next robot.  They’ve long been used as the drivers for Holiday props, but I haven’t seen many of them used for hobby robots.  Feel free to link to yours in the comments if you’ve built one!


milled-windshield-wiper-mountsStraight out of the box, you may think that they will take a lot of work to fasten to your device of choice.  They, at least the motors that I’m using, come with a wiper motor arm linkage sporting a ball joint on the end.  Pretty useless, you might say, why not just a hole for a 1/4 inch bolt?  Well, if you have a Dremel tool, Grinder, or milling machine and a hammer, you’re in luck!  Simply grind off the back side of the ball joint, then fasten it in a vise.  Using a punch (or whatever you have available), Read more »

A Large Hexapod Made of Wood and PVC

pvc-hexapod-floorAlthough this hexapod is still a work in progress at this point, I’m going to start writing about some of the elements used to make it.  This post is an overview of my progress.

A few months ago I had the idea to build a large hexapod using PVC pipe as the legs, wood for the body, and windshield-wiper motors for the actuators.  Unlike my last hexapod robot, PegLeg, the middle legs would use 2 motors for lifting, allowing both to be controlled separately.  This left the potential for some interesting locomotion if everything came together correctly.

As of now, the design has not been tested walking, but I’ve been able to actuate all legs on a test bench as shown in the second video after the “read more.”  In further tests, it was able to barely pick itself up by the middle leg, but some more refinement will be needed before this will walk well.  Most notably Read more »

Buckyballs Safety Recall Lawsuit

Buckyballs and CardBuckyballs, which I first featured in this review in January, have been quite fun to play with.  They can be dangerous though, especially if swallowed.  Children of course enjoy chewing on and swallowing random objects, so the CPSC (Consumer Products Safety Commission) thought this was too big a risk for these items to be sold, and has filed a lawsuit to this effect.  I don’t have kids myself (except a dog that I have to keep these away from per warnings in the documentation), and maybe I’d feel differently if I did, but the recall attempt seems a bit extreme in my opinion.  The boxes come with warnings on it, and although I really didn’t think about it before, Buckyballs claims to market exclusively to adults.

So if you bought these on my recommendation, consider yourself warned, this product could be unsafe…  However, Read more »