Armed with full might of Enable’s LEGO stores (which is substantial), a few YouTube tutorials, and a cellphone pic of a whiteboard diagram, Smit and Navjot began the perilous task of trying to design and assemble Enable’s newest Delta Robot. Annexing the conference room, the two students, along with Enable’s enthusiastic but mechanical-oblivious Curriculum Specialist Andrew, began the project. The building requirements for this project were as follows:
- A Delta Robot, with optical sensor, made from LEGO Mindstorms.
- A Plexiglas or wood disk, with a squiggly line pattern drawn on it.
- A turntable, to rotate this disk, made from LEGO Mindstorms.
- A sturdy, metal frame for the Delta Robot, made from Tetrix parts.
- An Egg Dispensing robot made from LEGO Mindstorms.
A tall order for even the most maniacal of LEGO maniacs. The team (dare we say “dream team”?) gets down to work, and uses three Mindstorms motors, and several swivel joints to create the arms. It is at this point that a harsh reality sets in: Ben, several online experts, and most importantly Wikipedia, all state that a Delta Robot needs to be made up of two connected Triangles.
While LEGO is one of the world’s most diverse and beloved building system, it does not triangle without presenting a challenge. In our case, it seemed to be either at a right angle, or a wrong angle. A little jiggery-pokery, some trial-and-error, and a healthy amount of muttering under their breath, and the team settled on connecting the longer LEGO elements together with shorter ones to create a triangle shaped piece with flattened corners. Adding some supporting struts that run across the frame to firm up structure added a fair amount of stability. Navjot and Smit were concerned that this would still not be strong enough to support a moving robot, but Andrew, using his sound engineering mind informed them that it looked “like it would probably be okay”, and instructed them to move along.
With a strong pattern designed, it was much less difficult to create a smaller version to act as the bottom triangle. Once complete, Smit used all his cunning to attach the optical sensor into the centre. He worked quickly and stayed focused despite Andrew’s near-constant howls of “Use some duct tape”, and Navjot humming the theme music from the movie Terminator.
Six hours, dozens of LEGO elements, three pots of coffee, and one minor fist-fight later (just kidding!), the team had created the Robot part of the Delta-Robot.
-by Andrew Baxter, Curriculum Specialist
Delta Bot 6 Projects 14