Bad Mistakes and Good Feedback

I am a learner. I love robotics, but I’m still fumbling my way through it, learning as much as I can and doing my best to pass that knowledge on. That’s why it wasn’t really surprising to me when my Motor Controllers for Cheap Robots tutorial on Instructables started getting some comments that pointed out how badly designed my circuit was. What was surprising was how helpful that feedback proved to be!

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Na Na Na Na Na, Battbot!

Without its two chocolate shortbread cookies, an Oreo is just a dollop of icing. A Christmas tree without the tree is just a pile of ornaments and lights, a sandwich without bread is just a salad, and a robot without a chassis is just a tangle of wires and electronics. That’s why my For Cheap Robots series had three tutorials on how to make a cheap chassis for your robot, long before I even touched a soldering iron. But what if the chassis and electronic components were one and the same?

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Guest Tutorial for IntoRobotics!

Howdy! It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything new to my For Cheap Robots series, but that doesn’t mean I’ve been idle, far from it actually! I’ve recently been offered the chance to write a guest article for another robotics blog called IntoRobotics! I’d like to show all of you how to use the For Cheap Robots tutorial to make a simple, line-following robot of your very own.

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Arms and Motors and Sensors, Oh My!

I’m very proud to say that my For Cheap Robots project is still going strong! As some of you may recall, at the beginning of last month, I announced the beginning of my For Cheap Robots series here on the Digilent blog. Since then, I’ve added several more tutorials to the list and gotten a huge amount of positive feedback. I want to thank any and all of you who here who follow the Digilent Blog and decided to pop over to Instructables to check it out!

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The “For Cheap Robots” Series for Cheap Robots!

Robotics isn’t always immediately accessible. There are kits and tutorials, and a huge community built up around robotics, but it’s still an expensive hobby to get into. Many cheap robotics platforms can cost upwards of a hundred dollars, which can seem overwhelming when you’re young and just getting started. That’s why I started a series on Instructables dedicated to using cheap materials and an arts-and-crafts mentality to make robotics cheaper and more approachable for everybody!

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WF32 Pin Diagram

I’m a big fan of the chipKIT WF32. It’s a powerful little board with a WiFi card and SD card reader built in, but there’s a lot more to this board than meets the eye. There are a ton of communication lines, external interrupts, output compare pins, and more hidden in all those GPIO pins, but how do you tell what is what? That’s where the WF32 pin diagram comes in. I’ve compiled, color coded, and listed what each pin is capable of.

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A New Intern’s Experience Getting Started with chipKIT and Learn.Digilentinc!

Howdy! I’m the latest addition to the Digilent family, and I’m happy to make your acquaintance! As the newest member, my first task was to act as a guinea pig to test out our new Learn.Digilentinc webpage. After all, I was new to chipKIT, but I’m no fresh-faced newb (well… not much of a newb), I know my way around a microcontroller and this is hardly my first time blinking an LED, but I’m not a hardcore programmer or electrical engineer either, which was exactly what the Learn.Digilentinc website was created for. So I was asked to go through Digilent’s Learn site to familiarize myself with their hardware, and provide a little outside perspective on the tutorials. The following is a review of my experience with our Learn site, tutorials, and what sort of difficulties folks new to microcontrollers might have while learning the ropes on our hardware.

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