Raspberry-PI : Robot Tank Treads Progress

I have created a wheel design for driving the tank tracks for my mini Raspberry PI robot. The STL file is available here on tinkercad.com.

Also found a couple worm gear motors that will run at 30rpm at 12V (Unloaded) on Amazon.ca . They have a 6mm D-shaft that is a little short, but should be ok.

Next step is to build a 3D design for mounting the motors and holding the wheels in position within the track.

Will try to post some pictures soon.

3D Printer Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus!

A friend of mine is really into 3D printing, it looked like so much fun that I bought a ‘Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus’ for $649 from the same place he got his, Spool3d.ca. It has been a great experience so far. I have been printing almost non-stop for the last month! This printer is very well built and I can definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to get started.

I have been using tinkercad.com for all my designs, here are links to a few of the models I have built. I am slowly building up a tank type robot for my Raspberry Pi. Fun stuff!

Nerf to Picatinny Rail Converter
Modified Picatinny Riser For Airsoft
8cm by 2cm Tank Treads for my Raspberry Pi Robot Project
Tank Tread Wheel for the Tank Treads

Here are my almost finished tank treads…

wxWidgets 3

I have not posted much on my website due to working on several big commercial (windoz) projects using wxWidgets 3 / OpenGL / SQLite / MariaDB. I used to be a big fan of Qt, however the licensing was way to expensive for me to use it for any project that I decided to take commercial, so I gave it up and dove into wxWidgets. I am happy to say that I have found it to be most useful as a general purpose GUI building tool, and superior in performance and simplicity compared to Qt. I am completely loving wxWidgets and I plan on posting a pile of wxWidgets instructions and examples in the future to help support the community of wx users.

Single Sheet Elevon based RC Aircraft

I recently built a sci-fi themed elevon prop-in-slot single sheet Airplane. My goal was to use only one sheet for an airplane that could fly with some of my smaller quadcopter motors, it weighs under 190grams (without battery). It uses a 5050-3 bladed propeller.
It flies great with either a 3cell 850mah or a 3cell 450mah battery even though the 850 is almost twice the mass of the 450. With the 450 it is so light that if you cut the throttle and pull the elevons back 50% the aircraft floats to the ground as light as a ball of tissue. Despite it’s aggressive appearance it is extremely forgiving to fly, and is suitable as a trainer.

190G RC Airplane
190G RC Airplane

A simple paint job using acrylic paint and foam brushes significantly strengthens the foam.
A simple paint job using acrylic paint and foam brushes significantly strengthens the foam.

RC Sim has new keyboard controls

I was playing without a gampad trying to fly my RC simulator and noticed how horrible it was, so I rewrote the keyboard controls.
The new controls do not require a numberpad, and are as follows:
[x] [w] for 100% elevator up and down.
[a] [d] for 100% aileron left and right.
[q] [e] for 20% throttle increments.
This is much easier to operate than the old method. So for people who want to try it out without a gamepad this is your best option.
Try it out here.

Review of EteckCity ‘Measure Up’ Digital Multimeter

This is the second product that EtekCity sent me for free for my honest review as part of their EtekCitizen program.
I requested this multimeter from them because I am constantly looking for my voltmeter, and needed an extra one to leave with my RC gear. This one retails for $16.98 on amazon.ca.

Package for EtekCity Digital Multimeter

I have used this quite a bit in the last 2 days. I have too many large batteries around (for my Dalek, and a wooden go kart I built ), so I decided to give them all a check as well as test some continuity on some of the circuits I have built for my Dalek. I also did some resistive measurements on some bits of RC stuff as well. So far I am happy with this multimeter, it seems to work as expected. Is has a fast settle time (unlike my old tester) and the backlight makes reading the display very easy.
EtekCity Digital Multimeter
EtekCity Digital Multimeter

EtekCity Multimeter backlight

It feels very solid, and runs on a 9V battery. The only problem I have with it is that there is no battery cover, instead you need to take the unit apart (2 screws) to change the battery. Also it does not auto power down, so try not to forget to turn it off.
EtekCity Digital Multimeter taken apart
Disassembled for battery replacement check

Conclusion: I am pretty happy with it, it will have a permanent spot on my RC workbench.

Review of EtekCity ‘Roverbeats Bravo’ Headset (3.5mm with microphone)

So I signed up for EtekCitizen free products in exchange for honest reviews to give it a try (ie. They gave me this ‘Roverbeat Bravo’ headset for free so take my review as a paid advertisement). I recently bought a food scale from them for weighing my RC planes and components and was thrilled with the quality of the scale, so I signed up hoping to get more great quality stuff as I was looking for a gaming headset for the kids. When I received the shipment it was well packaged.

EtekCity Headset with microphone

It has very decent sound quality compared to my other much more expensive headset (AKG, K99 Perception), and worked perfectly with my Windows 10 pc and google hangouts, but it definitely feels a bit cheap, the ear padding is super soft and thin and I worry that it will wear out very quickly, only time will tell.
EteckCity Headset with Microphone 3.5mm jacks
Out of the box

I am used to much higher quality audio gear, but this headset retails for $17.99 on amazon.ca so of course I am not going to find it up to par with my usual gear. However for a $17.99 price I would say it is actually a good value for money, I have given it to my kids and they have been using it for their gaming and loving it.
In conclusion: Not high end (duh, look at the price), but good value and so far it has been great for kids gaming. Happy kids = happy dad.

Ram 1500 ‘Puddle’ light fix

My 4 year old Ram 1500 mirror puddle lights failed recently, so I went to the dealer and was shocked when they wanted $74 per side plus $45 labor. I was really upset because I expected the LED’s to last the life of the vehicle, and the price was unreasonable. Since bright white LED’s cost almost nothing, I ordered a pack of 20 pre-wired 12V ready white LED’s from Amazon for $5 including shipping. After drilling 3 holes in each old light holder and soldering the wires up (Thick terminal is negative) I now have working lights that are brighter than the originals. It took me half an hour total, which is how long their mechanics supposedly would take to pop them out and back in. I posted this just to encourage anyone who can run a drill and a soldering iron to do this instead of letting the dealers take your money for such a minor job.
Dodge RAM 1500, Puddle lights on workbench with installed LEDs

Dodge RAM 1500, View of repaired and installed Puddle Light

I also got a pack of 20 Amber LED’s for the signal lights as 2 have burned out on one side. I will fix that tomorrow!

DLG gliders experiment

I recently became interested in DLG gliders after a friend showed me some YouTube videos of the Alula glider and his attempt to build one from scratch. Alula (Flight Test Review)
I built a super simplified version of the Alula and had decent success with it, able to do some slope soaring on a local hill, and also able to ‘discus launch’ it to a decent height. It is not nearly as good as a commercial plane, but I just wanted to try it out without spending over $100. Small foam board DLG The balance point is very sensitive on this wing, but by using a V-tail I was able to make it much more controllable (ie. less unintentional flipping).

I decided I had to try building a bigger DLG, so using an old carbon fiber golf club and the dimensions of a 1500mm DLG I found on the web I built this in about 2 hours. The wing is a single piece of foam board cut in half. (Parts cost was $3 for club, $1.25 for foam board, used scrap coroplast for body and tail, so I will guess another $2)
Large foam board DLG
It flies really nicely, staying in the air much longer than the small DLG, but the foam wings could not withstand my bad flying skills and broke after a hard nose landing caused by a very bad discuss launch. I replaced the foam wing with a coroplast wing, and it is now a lot heavier but still flies good and seems nearly indestructible after many very bad crashes. The coroplast body and tail slide along the ground really well and never seem to take any damage even when I nosed in hard. I am going to try to lighten the wing by drilling many holes out of the wing and covering the holes with packing tape. Here is the current iteration (weighing 584g, pretty heavy for a glider but ok for slope soaring)

Coroplast DLG weighs 586g full of holes to reduce weight

With a hard regular hand launch it will glide over 50 meters. It is also extremely tough, having cartwheeled and nosed-in a few times with no damage. I haven’t gotten very good at doing the discus launch yet, I think that without dihedral it is almost impossible.
Building these two planes has been a lot of fun, can’t wait to try slope soaring it.

RC Simulator upgraded to three.js r74

WebGL RC Flight simulator view of landing strip with Flying Stick model selected
I got tired of seeing all the three.js warnings and errors in the flight sim, so I upgraded to r74 and fixed a few bugs caused by the upgrade. I also added more trees around the flight field and changed the aircraft weapons:

  • Gun1 is now smaller bullets and fast rate of fire
  • Gun2 is the old gun1 with a slow rate of fire
  • Bomb1 is the same
  • Added Bomb2 as a bigger sphere with a slow rate of fire