This is the latest version of the Bucket Bot - a mobile PC based robot that can be easily transported in a 5 gallon bucket. The previous one used simple wood based construction. This newer version is based on aluminum and T-Slot, so it is easily expandable.
The bucket bot concept is a vertically oriented robot where all the components are easily accessible. This is superior to the layered approach since you don’t need to unscrew layers to work on the lower level components. This design has the all-important features for mobile robots: a handle and motor power switch!
I also incorporated some new components that make the building easier. There is a little fabrication involved, but it can all be done using hand tools. You can also use a laser cutter for a plastic version of this robot, or use a metal cutting service like the Big Blue Saw if you would like with the included designs.
This robot uses a tablet Windows PC. But, the design will work with ITX, Mini-ITX boards as well as smart phones and boards like the Arduino, Beagle Bone and Raspberry Pi. Even the Arduino Uno for motor control could be used exclusively.
This design was intended to be compatible with the Vex / Erector hardware. The holes are 3/16” on a 1/2” center pattern.
I cannot say enough good things about the T-slot used in this design. I used the 80/20 20 series, which is 20mm on a side. That’s right around 3/4”, and the cool thing is that you can use standard #8-32 screws with it (same as the Vex). When you use #8-32 square nuts, they do not spin in the channel, and standard angle brackets work well alongside the higher end hardware you can get. The T-slot extrusions are easily available on Amazon and EBay - the ~4’ piece used for this project only costs about $10. The t-slot allows a very nice way to make 3D objects from 2D cut parts, so the combination is great for building things with minimal fabrication - you can especially see that in the motor mounts.
This robot is controlled with the RoboRealm machine vision system. It determines where the robot should go, and sends motor control commands over the serial port. The serial port is connected to an Arduino Uno and Adafruit Motor Control Shield. The Arduino runs a simple serial listener program to receive commands and run the motors and camera tilt servo. The sample application here is a Fiducial Course - the robot will move between a series of fiducial markers in order.”

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