By Joey Ferreri
Say hello to the Neurobot (or at least what will be the neurobot). This is the second robot for CNM Hackerspace in our PiWars endeavors. The entire chassis and arm are comprised of exclusively 3D printed pieces, and of course, servos, batteries, sensors, and Raspberry Pis sold separately. The original design was created by Nick Grigoriev on Thingiverse, where we printed the parts from, and included no form of assembly instructions, so I have been going purely off the listing photos and eventually got it to a point to where it looked the same. However, it exceeded the robot size limits in the PiWars rules. Since discovering this, we have modified it by rearranging the main base plates and we now have a slimmer, regulation compliant model of the Neurobot. The original design, which is actually the 3rd iteration of the robot, does not include the arm, as seen in the picture above, but rather, it was taken Nick’s 1st version robot, which is many times larger. Fortunately, however, the arm was not too big to be mounted on to this custom design, albeit with a few more modifications than would be without the arm. Speaking of modifications, the entire front of the robot in the original spec was prone to wiggle back and forth. The cross beams were added to prevent that wiggle. That is just one example of the many modifications needed to fit this robot into a competitively sized package. The robot uses a Sparkfun Redboard controller in conjunction with the Pi, to which all the servos are connected to.
Personally, this is my first dive into robotics and building a robot, so I’m not going into this with a lot of knowledge or skills related to this. It has certainly been interesting, to say the least. I have had no experience with Raspberry Pis or anything surrounding them, and especially not with using them as robot controllers. Since I began my journey, I have learned many new skills, including, but not limited to soldering and use of multiple power tools in addition learning how competitive robots are built and programmed (theoretically and physically) b. Being able to go to England has certainly been a motivation to make this robot functional and competitive. I’m quite glad to have joined in with the PiWars team this year and get such a hands-on experience, especially with this being my first year.