Sunday, January 18, 2009

Electronics and Meccano (Erector)

Since the dawn of time, mankind has been searching. Searching for the answer to a question that has plaigued us all these years. The burning question that has tormented us since before history will now be answered. The time for answers has come.

How do i get my electronics junk to fit with my erector set???
I've had a love affair with the worlf of Meccano(Erector) for several years now, but the festering issue that has plaigued our relationship is the fact that NO electronics items are designed to jive with the 1/2" hole spacing scheme that meccano is known for.
For rapid prototyping, Meccano just can't be beat. You can build virtually anything with all the little premade mechanical parts, brackets, gears, and hardware included in the sets. I love building the models that come with the kits, but it is always more satisfying to build something yourself. From scratch. And why would you build anything unless it moved on its own. This necessitates servos, sensors, microcontrollers, motors etc. The problem is that none of these devices is hole-compatible with Meccano. The other problem is that there are relatively few places where you can find brackets for these devices, and NOBODY makes these brackets for Meccano. After scouring the internet for solutions, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

The biggest culprit in the war for hole-compatibility is the dreaded servomechanism. Hobby servos are designed with an unusual spacing that makes them practically unusable with your meccano set. Therefore I decided that I would make my own using plexiglass and my router.
(I also have a relationship with that particular tool.) You can see the results below

By creating my own bracket, i was able to get perfect hole compatibility with the servo, and thereby mount it on my project.

Next step: Arduino and Make Controller.

Most microcontroller kits have exposed circuitry on the bottom, which can be risky. So the microcontroller bracket serves a dual purpose. First providing necessary shielding from touching metal, and second, providing slick mounting holes.


Arduino and Lithium Backpack from http://www.liquidware.com/.
Now to try out the Servos on this beast:

You can see that by using a combination of bracketry and meccano spacers, i've got a sweet little setup here. The servos fit in perfectly and leave the drive arms exposed at just the right position.


But just what is this that I'm attaching the servos to?
Stay tuned.

2 comments:

Aaron Tunell said...

You're so fun honey. What a clever guy you are. I love you and I love reading your blogs.
Vicki

James said...

We'd love to have you join and contribute.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/erector/
Jim Peck
jamesgpeck@yahoo.com